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THE  PHILADELPHIA  NEGRO 

A  Social  Study 

W.  E.  B.  DuBOIS 

Introduction  by  E.  DIGBY  BALTZELL 

Together  with 

A  Special  Report  on 

Domestic  Service 

by  Isabel  Eaton 


SCHOCKEN   BOOKS    •    NEW  YORK 


First  published  in  1899 
First  SCHOCKEN  edition  1967 

Introduction  by  E.  Digby  Baltzell,  Copyright  ©  1967  by  Schocken  Books  Inc. 
Library  of  Congress  Catalog  Card  No.  67-26984 


Manufactured  in  the  United  States  of  America 


TABLE  OF  CONTENTS. 


INTRODUCTION  by  E.  Digby  Baltzell 


THE  PHILADELPHIA  NEGRO. 

CHAPTER        I.  The  Scope  of  This  Study  ...........  1-4 

1.  General  aim   .............  i 

2.  The  methods  of  inquiry     .......  i 

3.  The  credibility  of  the  results     .....  2 

CHAPTER       II.  The  Problem    ................  5~9 

4.  The  Negro  problems  of   Philadelphia    .  5 

5.  The  plan  of  presentment   .......  8 

CHAPTER    III.  The  Negro  in  Philadelphia,  1638-1820     ....  10-24 

6.  General  survey  ............  10 

7.  The  transplanting  of  the  Negro,  1638- 

1760    ................  ii 

8.  Emancipation,  1760-1780  .......  15 

9.  The  rise  of  the  freedmen,  1780-1820  .    .  17 
CHAPTER     IV.  The  Negro  in  Philadelphia,  1820-1896      ....  25-45 

10.  Fugitives  and  foreigners,  1820-1840    .    .  25 

11.  The  guild  of  the  caterers,  1840-1870  .    .  32 

12.  The  influx  of  the  freedmen,  1870-1896  39 
CHAPTER      V.  The  Size,  Age  and  Sex  of  the  Negro  Popula 

tion  ...........    .    .  ~  *  ""."".  (.  46-65 

13.  The  city  for  a  century     ........  46 

14.  The  Seventh  Ward,  1896    .......  58 

CHAPTER        VI.  Conjugal  Condition     ............  66-72 

15.  The  Seventh  Ward  ..........  66 

16.  The  city  ...............  70 

KANSAS  CITY  (MO.)  PUBLIC  LIBRARY  ^ 
EXTENSION       MAY  15  1969 


Contents. 

PAGE. 

CHAPTER      VII.  Sources  of  the  Negro  Population 73-82 

17.  The  Seventh  Ward 73 

18.  The  city 80 

CHAPTER    VIII.  Education  and  Illiteracy 83-96 

19.  The  history  of  Negro  education  ...  83 

20.  The  present  condition 89 

CHAPTER       IX.  The  Occupation  of  Negroes 97-146 

21.  The  question  of  earning  a  living     .   .  97 

22.  Occupations  in  the  Seventh  Ward  .   .  99 

23.  Occupations  in  the  city in 

24.  History  of  the  occupations  of  Negroes  141 
CHAPTER        X.  The  Health  of  Negroes 147-163 

25.  The  interpretation  of  statistics  .   ...  147 

26.  The  statistics  of  the  city 149 

CHAPTER       XI.  The  Negro  Family 164-196 

27.  The  size  of  the  family 164 

28.  Incomes 168 

29.  Property 179 

30.  Family  life 192 

CHAPTER     XII.  The  Organized  Life  of  Negroes 197-234 

31.  History  of  the  Negro  church  in  Phila 

delphia 197 

32.  The  function  of  the  Negro  church  .   .  201 

33.  The  present  condition  of  the  churches  207 

34.  Secret  and  beneficial  societies  and  co 

operative  business 221 

35.  Institutions 230 

36.  The  experiment  of  organization  .   .   .  233 
CHAPTER    XIII.  The  Negro  Criminal 235-268 

37.  History  of  Negro  crime  in  the  city  .   .  235 

38.  Negro  crime  since  the  war 240 

39.  A  special  study  in  crime 248 

40.  Some  cases  of  crime 259 

CHAPTER     XIV.  Pauperism  and  Alcoholism 269-286 

41.  Pauperism 269 

42.  The  drink  habit 277 

43.  The  causes  of  crime  and  poverty    .    .  282 


Contents, 

PAGE. 

CHAPTER       XV.  The  Environment  of  the  Negro 287-321 

44.  Houses  and  rent 287 

45.  Sections  and  wards 299 

46.  Social  classes  and  amusements    .    .   .  309 
CHAPTER    XVI.  The  Contact  of  the  Races 322-367 

47.  Color  prejudice 322 

48.  Benevolence 355 

49.  The  intermarriage  of  the  races    .    .   .  358 

CHAPTER    XVII.  Negro  Suffrage 368-384 

50.  The  significance  of  the  experiment    .  368 

51.  The  history  of  Negro  suffrage  in  Penn 

sylvania    368 

52.  City  politics 372 

53.  Some  bad  results  of  Negro  suffrage  •  373 

54.  Some  good  results  of  Negro  suffrage  »  382 

55.  The  paradox  of  reform 383 

CHAPTER  XVIII.  A  Final  Word 385-39? 

56.  The  meaning  of  all  this 385 

57.  The  duty  of  the  Negroes 389 

58.  The  duty  of  the  whites 393 

APPENDIX  A.  Schedules  used  in  the  house-to-house  inquiry  .   .  400-410 
APPENDIX  B.  Legislation,  etc.,  of  Pennsylvania  in  regard  to  the 

Negro 411-418 

APPENDIX  C.  Bibliography 419-421 


SPECIAL   REPORT    ON    NEGRO    DOMESTIC  SERVICE 
IN   THE   SEVENTH   WARD. 

I.  Introduction 427~429 

II.  Enumeration  of  Negro  domestic  servants 430-434 

Recent  reform  in  domestic  service 43° 

Enumeration 431 

III.  Sources  of  the  supply  and  methods  of  hiring 435-443 

Methods  of  hiring 43^ 

Personnel  of  colored  domestic  service 436 

IV.  Grades  of  service  and  wages 444-455 

Work  required  of  various  sub-occupations 454 


Contents. 

PA.GB. 

V.  Savings  and  expenditure 456-462 

Assistance  given  by  domestic  servants 459 

...  462 

Summary • ^ 

VI.  Amusements  and  recreations 4^3-473 

VII.  Ivength  and  quality  of  Negro  domestic  service 474-489 

VIII    Conjugal  condition,   illiteracy  and  health   of   Negro   do 
mestics  

Conjugal  condition 49° 

Health  statistics  for  domestic  servants 495 

IX.  Ideals  of  betterment 500-509 

....  511-520 

INDEX ° 

MAPS. 
I.  Map  of  Seventh  Ward,  showing  streets   and  political  divi- 

sions Facing  page  60 

II.  Map  of  Seventh  Ward,  showing  distribution  of  Negro  in 
habitants  throughout  the  ward,  and  their  social  condi 
tion  '  •*"**  page  I 


INTRODUCTION  TO  THE  1967  EDITION 
by  E.  Digby  Baltzell 

IN  AN  appendix  to  his  famous  study  of  the  American  Negro,  An 
American  Dilemma,  Gunnar  Myrdal  discussed  the  need  for 
further  research  in  the  Negro  community.  "We  cannot  close  this 
description  of  what  a  study  of  a  Negro  community  should  be/'  he 
wrote,  "without  calling  attention  to  the  study  which  best  meets 
our  requirements,  a  study  which  is  now  all  but  forgotten.  We 
refer  to  W.  E.  B.  DuBois'  The  Philadelphia  Negro,  published  in 
1899."1  One  would  hardly  expect  a  greater  tribute  to  this  early 
classic  in  American  sociology.  It  is  no  wonder  that  there  has  not 
been  a  scholarly  study  of  the  American  Negro  in  the  twentieth 
century  which  has  not  referred  to  and  utilized  the  empirical 
findings,  the  research  methods,  and  the  theoretical  point  of  view 
of  this  seminal  book. 

A  classic  is  sometimes  defined  as  a  book  that  is  often  referred 
to  but  seldom  read.  The  Philadelphia  Negro,  written  by  a  young 
scholar  who  subsequently  became  one  of  the  three  most  famous 
Negro  leaders  in  American  history,  surely  meets  this  requirement. 
Though  always  referred  to  and  frequently  quoted  by  specialists, 
it  is  now  seldom  read  by  the  more  general  student  of  sociology. 
For  not  only  has  the  book  been  out  of  print  for  almost  half  a 
century;  it  has  been  virtually  unobtainable,  as  my  own  experience 
of  almost  twenty  years  of  searching  in  vain  for  a  copy  in  second 
hand  bookstores  attests.  Even  at  the  University  of  Pennsylvania, 
under  whose  sponsorship  the  research  was  undertaken  and  the. 
book  published,  although  one  copy  has  been  preserved  in  the 
archives  and  one  on  microfilm,  the  sole  copy  listed  in  the 
catalogue  and  available  for  students  in  the  library  has  been 
unaccountably  missing  from  the  shelves  for  several  years.  In 
writing  this  introduction,  I  am  using  a  copy  lent  me  by  my  good 
friend,  Professor  Ira  Reid  of  Haverford  College,  a  one-time 
colleague  and  friend  of  the  late  Professor  DuBois  at  Atlanta 

1.  Gunnar  Myrdal,  An  American  Dilemma,  p.  1132. 

ix 


x  .  Introduction  to  the  1967  Edition 

University.  Modern  students,  then,  will  certainly  benefit  from  a 
readily  available  paperback  edition  of  this  study  of  the  Negro 
community  in  Philadelphia  at  the  turn  of  the  nineteenth  century. 

In  order  to  gain  a  full  understanding  of  any  book,  one  ought 
to  know  something  of  the  life  and  intellectual  background  of  its 
author,  the  place  of  the  book  in  the  history  of  the  discipline  ( in 
this  case  sociology),  as  well  as  the  climate  of  intellectual  opinion 
and  the  social  conditions  of  the  era  in  which  the  book  was 
written.  Because  The  Philadelphia  Negro—like  all  his  other 
writings— was  so  intimately  a  part  of  the  life  of  W.  E.  B.  DuBois, 
I  shall  begin  this  introduction  with  a  brief  outline  of  his  career. 
DuBois  himself  wrote  in  his  seventies:  "My  life  had  its  signifi 
cance  and  its  only  deep  significance  because  it  was  part  of 
a  problem;  but  that  problem  was,  as  I  continue  to  think,  the 
central  problem  of  the  greatest  of  the  world's  democracies  and  so 
the  problem  of  the  future  world."2 

It  is  one  of  the  coincidences  of  American  history  that  in  the 
year  1895,  Frederick  Douglass,  a  crusading  abolitionist  and  the 
first  great  leader  of  the  Negro  people,  died,  and  Booker  T. 
Washington  rose  to  national  leadership  with  his  "compromise" 
speech  at  Atlanta,  in  which  he  made  the  famous  statement  that 
"in  all  things  that  are  purely  social  we  can  be  as  separate  as  the 
fingers,  yet  one  as  the  hand  in  all  things  essential  to  human 
progress."  In  that  same  year,  which  marked  the  passing  of  Negro 
leadership  from  the  fiery  and  moralistic  Douglass  to  the  compro 
mising  and  pragmatic  Washington,  a  young  New  Englander,  W. 
E.  B.  DuBois,  obtained  the  first  Ph.D.  degree  ever  awarded  a 
Negro  by  Harvard  University. 

William  Edward  Burghardt  DuBois  "was  born  by  a  golden 
river  and  in  the  shadow  of  two  great  hills,"  in  Great  Barrington, 
Massachusetts,  in  1868,  the  same  year  "Andrew  Johnson  passed 
from  the  scene  and  Ulysses  Grant  became  President  of  the  United 
States."3  He  was  a  mulatto  of  French  Huguenot,  Dutch,  and 
Negro  ("thank  God,  no  Anglo-Saxon")  ancestry.  The  Burghardt 
family  had  lived  in  this  area  of  the  Berkshires  ever  since  his 

2.  W.  E.  B.  DuBois,  Dusk  of  Dawn  (New  York:  Harcourt,  Brace  and 
World,  1940),  p.  vii. 

3.  In  writing  of  DuBois*  life,  I  have  tried  to  quote  him  directly  where 
possible.  I  have  profited  greatly  from  the  following  biographical  studies: 


Introduction  to  the  1967  Edition  xi 

mother  s  great-grandfather  had  been  set  free  after  having  served 
for  a  brief  period  in  the  Revolution.  (In  1908,  DuBois  was 
accepted  by  the  Massachusetts  branch  of  the  Sons  of  the 
American  Revolution  but  was  eventually  suspended  from  mem 
bership  by  the  national  office  because  of  his  Negro  ancestry.) 
DuBois  grew  up  in  a  community  of  some  five  thousand  souls 
which  included  between  twenty-five  and  fifty  Negroes.  Social 
position  in  the  small  town  was  more  a  matter  of  class  than  of 
color.  The  rich  people  in  town,  mostly  farmers,  manufacturers, 
and  merchants,  were  "not  very  rich  nor  many  in  number."  Like 
the  wealthier  white  children  whom  he  "annexed  as  his  natural 
companions/'  young  Will  DuBois  judged  men  on  their  merits  and 
accomplishments  and  felt,  as  was  natural  in  that  day,  that  the  rich 
and  successful  deserved  their  position  in  life,  as  did  the  "lazy  and 
thriftless"  poor.  He  "cordially  despised"  the  immigrant  mill- 
workers  and  looked  upon  them  as  a  "ragged,  ignorant,  drunken 
proletariat,  grist  for  the  dirty  woolen  mills  and  the  poorhouse." 

As  his  father,  apparently  a  charming  but  irresponsible  almost- 
white  mulatto,  died  when  he  was  very  young,  DuBois  was 
brought  up  by  his  mother.  Though  always  very  poor,  she  did  her 
best  to  pass  on  to  her  only  son  her  own  pride  of  ancestry  and  old- 
established  position  in  the  local  Negro  community.  Fortunately, 
young  Will  was  a  precocious  and  brilliant  boy,  possessed  of  an 
infinite  cap  ity  for  work  and  an  abiding  passion  to  excel.  His 
stern  New  i  igland  upbringing  was  reflected  in  the  following 
description  of  Ms  values  as  a  senior  at  Fisk:  "I  believed  too  little 
in  Christian  dogma  to  become  a  minister,"  he  wrote  many  years 
later,  "I  was  not  without  faith:  I  never  stole  material  or  spiritual 
things;  I  not  only  never  lied,  but  blurted  out  my  conception  of 
the  truth  on  many  untoward  occasions;  I  drank  no  alcohol  and 
knew  nothing  of  women,  physically  or  psychically,  to  the 
incredulous  amusement  of  most  of  my  more  experienced  fellows: 
I  above  all  believed  in  work— systematic  and  tireless."4 


Francis  L.  Broderick,  W.  E.  B.  DuBois:  Negro  Leader  in  a  Time  of 
Crisis,  and  Elliott  Morton  Rudwick,  "W.  E.  B.  DuBois:  A  Study  in 
Minority  Group  Leadership"  (unpublished  doctoral  dissertation,  University 
of  Pennsylvania,  1956). 

4.  W.  E.  B.  DuBois,  "My  Evolving  Program  for  Negro  Freedom,"  in 
Rayford  W.  Logan,  ed.,  What  the  Negro  Wants,  p.  38. 


xii  Introduction  to  the  1967  Edition 

From  an  early  age,  DuBois  planned  to  go  to  college  and  was 
fortunately  encouraged  to  do  so  by  his  friends  and  teachers.  "A 
wife  of  one  of  the  cotton  mill  owners,  whose  only  son  was  a  pal 
of  mine,"  he  wrote  more  than  half  a  century  later,  "offered  to  see 
that  I  got  lexicons  and  texts  to  take  up  the  study  of  Greek  in 
high  school,  without  which  college  doors  in  that  day  would  not 
open.  I  accepted  the  offer  as  only  normal  and  right;  only  after 
many  years  did  I  realize  how  critical  this  gift  was  for  my  career."5 

Among  the  Negroes  of  Great  Harrington,  young  Will  DuBois 
soon  came  to  have  a  very  special  place.  He  was  the  only  Negro  in 
his  high-school  class  of  twelve  and  one  of  the  two  or  three  boys 
in  the  whole  class  who  went  on  to  college.  After  school  and  on 
weekends  he  worked  at  all  sorts  of  jobs.  Through  his  friendship 
with  the  local  newsdealer,  he  obtained,  for  a  brief  period,  a  posi 
tion  as  local  correspondent  for  the  Springfield  Republican.  He 
also  contributed  local  news  to  two  Negro  newspapers,  one  in 
Boston  and  the  other  in  New  York.  With  a  few  harsh  exceptions 
as  he  reached  adolescence,  he  was  accepted  on  his  merits  by  his 
peers.  Though  not  particularly  good  at  sports,  he  was  highly  re 
spected  intellectually.  At  fifteen,  he  began  annotating  his  col 
lected  papers,  a  practice  he  scrupulously  followed  until  his 
death,  in  Ghana,  at  the  age  of  ninety-five. 

DuBois  was,  of  course,  aware  of  the  color  line  as  he  grew  up, 
but  he  had  his  first  experience  with  a  large  Negro  community  at 
the  age  of  fifteen,  when  he  went  to  visit  his  grandfather  in  New 
Bedford.  "I  went  to  the  East  to  visit  my  fathers  father  in  New 
Bedford,"  he  later  wrote,  "and  on  that  trip  saw  well-to-do,  well- 
mannered  colored  people;  and  once,  at  Rocky  Point,  Rhode 
Island,  I  viewed  with  astonishment  10,000  Negroes  of  every  hue 
and  bearing.  I  was  transported  with  amazement  and  dreams;  I 
apparently  noted  nothing  of  poverty  and  degradation,  but  only 
extraordinary  beauty  of  skin  color  and  utter  equality  of  mien, 
with  absence  so  far  as  I  could  see  of  even  the  shadow  of  the 
line  of  race."6 

DuBois  graduated  with  high  honors  from  high  school  in  the 

5.  Ibid.,  p.  34. 

6.  Ibid,,  p.  35. 


Introduction  to  the  1967  Edition  xiii 

spring  of  1884.  His  mother  died  soon  after  graduation  day.  Too 
poor— and  also  thought  to  be  too  young— to  go  to  college,  he 
finally  took  a  job  as  timekeeper  for  a  contractor  who  was  building 
a  fabulous  "cottage"  for  the  widow  of  Mark  Hopkins,  whose 
father-in-law  had  made  a  fortune  in  railroads  and  founded  one  of 
the  first  families  in  San  Francisco.  He  learned  a  great  deal  about 
the  ways  of  men  on  this  responsible  job,  and  was  also  able  to  save 
a  little  money.  In  the  fall  of  1885,  he  obtained  some  scholarship 
aid  and  entered  Fisk  University  in  Nashville,  Tennessee,  as  a 
sophomore.  He  would  have  preferred  Harvard,  but  Fisk  in  many 
ways  proved  to  be  a  very  valuable  experience.  Here  for  the  first 
time  he  lived  among,  and  learned  about,  his  fellow  Negroes. 
Though  he  did  learn  about  a  certain  segment  of  the  Southern 
Negro  community  at  Fisk  and  in  Nashville,  he  was,  nevertheless, 
determined  to  see  it  whole.  "Somewhat  to  the  consternation  of 
both  teachers  and  fellow  students,"  he  obtained  a  job  teaching 
school  in  the  summer  months  in  West  Tennessee.  "Needless  to 
say,  the  experience  was  invaluable,"  he  wrote.  "I  traveled  not  only 
in  space  but  in  time.  I  touched  the  very  shadow  of  slavery.  I  lived 
and  taught  school  in  log  cabins  built  before  the  Civil  War.  My 
school  was  the  second  held  in  the  district  since  emancipation.  I 
touched  intimately  the  lives  of  the  commonest  of  mankind- 
people  who  ranged  from  barefooted  dwellers  on  dirt  floors,  with 
patched  rags  for  clothes,  to  rough,  hard-working  farmers,  with 
plain,  clean  plenty.  I  saw  and  talked  with  white  people,  noted 
now  their  unease,  now  their  truculence  and  again  their  friendli 
ness.  I  nearly  fell  from  my  horse  when  the  first  school  commis 
sioner  whom  I  interviewed  invited  me  to  stay  to  dinner.  After 
wards  I  realized  that  he  meant  me  to  eat  at  the  second,  but  quite 
as  well-served  table."7 

His  years  at  Fisk,  in  contrast  to  his  youth  in  New  England, 
left  DuBois  with  a  strong  and  bitter  sense  of  the  "absolute 
division  of  the  universe  into  black  and  white."  Yet  it  was 
probably  a  good  thing  that  he  went  there  before  finally  realizing 
his  boyhood  dream  of  going  to  Harvard,  which  he  entered  on  a 
scholarship,  as  a  junior,  in  the  fall  of  1888,  "I  was  happy  at 

7.  Ibid.,  pp.  37-38. 


xiv  Introduction  to  the  1967  Edition 

Harvard,  but  for  unusual  reasons,"  he  wrote  much  later.  "One  of 
these  unusual  circumstances  was  my  acceptance  of  racial  segre 
gation.  Had  I  gone  from  Great  Banington  high  school  directly  to 
Harvard  I  would  have  sought  companionship  with  my  white 
fellows  and  been  disappointed  and  embittered  by  a  discovery  of 
social  limitations  to  which  I  had  not  been  used/'8 

On  the  whole,  his  days  at  Cambridge  were  very  lonely.  He 
made  friends  with  only  a  very  few  of  his  classmates  and  reserved 
his  social  life  for  the  stimulating  Negro  community  in  and  around 
Boston:  "I  asked  nothing  of  Harvard  but  the  tutel'  ge  of  teachers 
and  the  freedom  of  the  library.  I  was  quite  volurnarily  and  will 
ingly  outside  of  its  social  life."9 

Fortunately,  the  members  of  the  faculty  were  far  more  friendly 
than  the  students: 

The  Harvard  of  1888  was  an  extraordinary  aggregation  of  great 
men.  Not  often  since  that  day  have  so  many  distinguished 
teachers  been  together  in  one  place  and  at  one  time  in  America. 
...  By  good  fortune,  I  was  thrown  into  direct  contact  with 
many  of  these  men.  I  was  repeatedly  a  guest  in  the  house  of 
William  James;  he  was  my  friend  and  guide  to  clear  thinking;  I 
was  a  member  of  the  Philosophical  Club  and  talked  with  Royce 
and  Palmer;  I  sat  in  an  upper  room  and  read  Kant's  Critique 
with  Santayana;  Shaler  invited  a  Southerner,  who  objected  to 
sitting  by  me,  out  of  his  class;  I  became  one  of  Hart's  favorite 
pupils  and  was  afterwards  guided  by  him  through  my  graduate 
course  and  started  on  my  work  in  Germany.  It  was  a  great 
opportunity  for  a  young  man  and  a  young  American  Negro, 
and  I  realized  it.10 

Apparently,  even  the  haughty  Anglophile  and  defender  of 
Anglo-Saxon  traditions  Barrett  Wendell  knew  a  good  man  when 
he  saw  one.  And  DuBois  never  forgot  the  following  experience: 

I  have  before  me  a  theme  which  I  wrote  October  3,  1890,  for 
Barrett  Wendell,  then  the  great  pundit  of  Harvard  English.  I 
said:  "Spurred  by  my  circumstances,  I  have  always  been  given 
to  systematically  planning  my  future,  not  indeed  without  many 

8.  Dusk  of  Dawn,  p.  34. 

9.  Ibid.,  p.  35. 

10.  Ibid.,  p.  37. 


Introduction  to  the  1967  Edition  xv 

mistakes  and  frequent  alterations,  but  always  with  what  I  now 
conceive  to  have  been  a  strangely  early  and  deep  appreciation 
of  the  fact  that  to  live  is  a  serious  thing.  I  determined  while  in 
school  to  go  to  college— partly  because  other  men  went,  partly 
because  I  foresaw  that  such  discipline  would  best  fit  me  for 
life.  ...  I  believe  foolishly  perhaps,  but  sincerely,  that  I  have 
something  to  say  to  the  world,  and  I  have  taken  English  12  in 
order  to  say  it  well."  Barrett  Wendell  rather  liked  that  last 
sentence.  He  read  it  out  to  the  class.11 

W.  E.  B.  DuBois  did  indeed  have  something  to  say  to  the 
world  and  he  soon  went  on  to  write  and  speak  more  eloquently  in 
behalf  of  his  race  than  any  other  man  of  his  generation.  But  first 
he  finished  his  work  at  Harvard,  obtaining  an  A.B.  in  1890,  an 
M.A.  in  1891,  and  completing  most  of  the  requirements  for  the 
Ph.D.  before  going  abroad  for  two  years  on  a  scholarship.  DuBois 
set  sail  for  Europe  on  a  Dutch  boat  in  the  summer  of  1892,  a 
year,  as  he  put  it,  which  marked  "the  high  tide  of  lynching  in  the 
United  States,  when  235  persons  were  publicly  murdered."  He 
studied  at  the  University  of  Berlin,  where  he  listened  to  Max 
Weber  and  was  accepted  into  "two  exclusive  seminars  run  by 
leaders  of  the  developing  social  sciences."  During  the  vacations, 
he  traveled  all  over  Europe  where  he  was  pleased  to  find  far  less 
racial  discrimination  than  in  the  United  States.  He  later  summed 
up  his  experiences  in  Europe  as  follows: 

From  this  unhampered  social  intermingling  with  Europeans  of 
education  and  manners,  I  emerged  from  the  extremes  of  my 
racial  provincialism.  I  became  more  human;  learned  the  place 
in  life  of  'Wine,  Women,  and  Song;"  I  ceased  to  hate  or 
suspect  people  simply  because  they  belonged  to  one  race  or 
color;  and  above  all  I  began  to  understand  the  real  meaning  of 
scientific  research  and  the  dim  outline  of  methods  of  employing 
its  technique  and  its  results  in  the  new  social  sciences  for  the 
settlement  of  the  Negro  problems  in  America.12 

DuBois  returned  from  Europe  in  1894  with  an  almost  blind 
faith  in  science  and  a  determination  to  engage  in  a  career  of 
research,  writing,  and  teaching.  He  had  originally  wanted  to  be  a 

11.  Ibid.,  pp.  38-39. 

12.  Logan,  op.  tit.,  p.  42. 


xvi  Introduction  to  the  1967  Edition 

philosopher  but  "it  was  James  with  his  pragmatism  and  Albert 
Bushnell  Hart  with  his  research  method,  that  turned  me  back 
from  the  lovely  but  sterile  land  of  philosophic  speculation,  to  the 
social  sciences  as  the  field  for  gathering  and  interpreting  that 
body  of  fact  which  would  apply  to  my  program  for  the  Negro."13 

After  spending  a  year  teaching  the  classics  at  Wilberforce, 
where  he  was  frankly  horrified  at  the  low  standards  and 
especially  the  overly  emotional  religious  atmosphere  (as  con 
trasted  to  his  own  rearing  in  the  Congregational  Church  in  Great 
Barrington),  he  was  called  to  the  University  of  Pennsylvania, 
where  he  was  given  an  opportunity  to  carry  out  his  program  of 
applying  the  methods  of  science  to  the  Negro  problem.  In  the 
meantime,  he  received  his  Ph,D.  from  Harvard  and  had  his  thesis, 
The  Suppression  of  the  African  Slave-Trade  to  the  United  States 
of  America,  1638-1870,  published  as  the  first  volume  in  the 
Harvard  Historical  Series,  in  1896,  the  year  he  began  his  research 
on  the  Philadelphia  Negro. 

W.  E.  B.  DuBois  was  brought  to  Philadelphia  largely  on  the 
initiative  of  Susan  P.  Wharton,  a  member  of  one  of  the  city's 
oldest  and  most  prominent  Quaker  families.  She  had  long  been 
interested  in  the  problems  of  Negroes  and  was  a  member  of  the 
Executive  Committee  of  the  Philadelphia  College  Settlement, 
which  had  been  founded  in  1892.  It  is  important  to  see  that  The 
Philadelphia  Negro  was  a  product  of  the  New  Social  Science  and 
Settlement  House  movements,  both  of  which  grew  up  in  this 
country  and  in  England  during  the  closing  decades  of  the 
nineteenth  century. 

"The  best  account  of  this  new  period/'  writes  Nathan  Glazer, 
"and  indeed  the  most  important  book,  to  my  mind,  for  an  under 
standing  of  the  rise  of  the  contemporary  social  scientific  ap 
proach,  is  Beatrice  Webb's  My  Apprenticeship.  Beatrice  Webb 
describes  the  rise  of  her  interest  in  social  problems,  and  the 
unique  vantage  point  afforded  to  her  by  the  Potter  family  (she 
was  Beatrice  Potter)  and  its  connections  to  further  his  interest. 
Although  the  most  distinguished  visitor  to  her  home  was  Herbert 
Spencer,  two  other  distinguished  Victorians  who  played  a  central 

13.  Ibid.,  p.  39. 


Introduction  to  the  1967  Edition  xvii 

role  in  the  development  of  social  science  were  often  there.  One 
was  Francis  Galton,  whose  discoveries  in  correlation  were  to  be 
largely  responsible  for  moving  social  statistics  from  the  level  of 
simple  enumeration  to  that  of  a  scientific  tool  of  great  precision 
and  value.  The  other  was  Charles  Booth,  who,  with  his  own 
fortune  acquired  from  industry,  was  to  conduct,  beginning  in  the 
1880's,  the  first  great  empirical  social  scientific  study,  an  investiga 
tion  into  the  conditions  of  life  among  all  the  people  of  London."14 

It  was  in  1883,  the  year  Karl  Marx  died,  that  young  Beatrice 
Potter  deserted  the  social  life  of  fashionable  Mayfair  and  went  to 
the  East  End  of  London  to  work  on  her  friend  Charles  Booth's 
famous  and  seminal  study  of  the  life  and  living  conditions  of  the 
London  poor.  The  next  year,  a  group  of  Protestant  clergymen, 
followers  of  Charles  Kingsley  and  Frederick  Dennison  Maurice 
and  their  Christian  Socialism,  along  with  some  young  college  men 
from  Oxford  and  Cambridge,  founded  Toynbee  Hall,  which  was 
an  important  landmark  in  the  Settlement  House  and  Social 
Gospel  movements  in  England  and  also  in  this  country.  At  the 
same  time,  Jane  Addams,  who  had  just  graduated  from  college 
and  was  traveling  abroad,  made  her  first  visit  to  the  slums  of 
London's  East  End.  She  was  so  horrified  by  what  she  saw  there, 
and  so  impressed  with  the  work  being  done  at  Toynbee  Hall  and 
with  her  newly  acquired  friend  Beatrice  Potter,  that  she  came 
back  and  founded  Hull  House,  in  1889,  in  the  heart  of  the 
Chicago  slums.  Other  settlement  houses  soon  sprang  up  in  most 
of  the  major  cities  along  the  Eastern  seaboard.  In  the  meantime, 
the  famous  Hull  House  Papers  and  Maps  were  published  in  1895, 
based  directly  on  Charles  Booth's  methods  of  research;  even  the 
colors  on  the  maps,  which  indicated  different  degrees  of  poverty, 
were  the  same. 

While  the  more  famous  founders  of  sociology,  such  as  Auguste 
Comte,  Karl  Marx,  and  Herbert  Spencer,  were  predominantly 
armchair  theorists  in  their  approach  to  understanding  the  causes 
and  consequences  of  the  industrial  and  urban  revolutions,  the  rise 
of  capitalism  and  the  problems  of  labor,  it  was  the  more 
empirical  and  pragmatic  tradition  of  Charles  Booth  in  England 

14.  Nathan  Glazer,  "The  Rise  of  Social  Science  Research  in  Europe,"  in 
Daniel  Lerner,  ed.,  The  Human  Meaning  of  the  Social  Sciences  (New 
York:  Meridian,  1959),  pp.  58-59. 


xviii  Introduction  to  the  1967  Edition 

and  the  Hull  House  work  in  this  country,  as  the  following 
paragraph  suggests,  that  inspired  young  DuBois  when  he  came  to 
Philadelphia. 

Herbert  Spencer  finished  his  ten  volumes  of  Synthetic  Phil 
osophy  in  1896.  The  biological  analogy,  the  vast  generali 
zations,  were  striking,  but  actual  scientific  accomplishment 
lagged.  For  me  an  opportunity  seemed  to  present  itself.  ...  I 
determined  to  put  science  into  sociology  through  a  study  of  the 
condition  and  problems  of  my  own  group.  I  was  going  to  study 
the  facts,  any  and  all  facts,  concerning  the  American  Negro 
and  his  plight,  and  by  measurement  and  comparison  and 
research,  work  up  to  any  valid  generalization  which  I  could.15 

It  was  in  this  same  spirit  that  Susan  P.  Wharton  went  out  to 
the  Wharton  School,  which  a  member  of  her  family  had  founded 
at  the  University  of  Pennsylvania,  and  prevailed  on  the  Provost, 
Charles  C.  Harrison,  to  undertake  a  study  of  the  Negro  problem 
in  the  city's  Seventh  Ward  (where,  incidentally,  Provost  Har 
rison,  Miss  Wharton,  and  many  of  Philadelphia's  more  fashion 
able  families  lived  at  that  time).  Provost  Harrison,  heir  to  one  of 
the  great  sugar  fortunes  in  America,  had  turned  away  from 
business  in  his  later  years  to  devote  himself  to  education  and 
social  reform.  He  was  immediately  receptive  to  her  plans.  (The 
project  was  outlined  at  a  meeting  at  the  Wharton  residence,  910 
Clinton  Street,  situated  only  a  few  blocks  from  the  heart  of  the 
Negro  ghetto  and  the  College  Settlement  House  at  Seventh  and 
South  Streets  [see  map].)  It  was  indeed  fortunate  for  the 
University,  Miss  Wharton,  and  the  city  as  a  whole,  that  a  young 
scholar  of  DuBois'  ability,  background,  education,  and  scientific 
point  of  view  was  obtained  for  the  job  by  a  member  of  the 
Sociology  Department  of  the  Wharton  School,  Samuel  McCune 
Lindsay.  DuBois  came  to  the  city  in  August,  1896,  and,  except  for 
a  brief  period  of  two  months  during  the  summer  of  1897,  when  he 
studied  rural  Negroes  in  Virginia  because  so  many  of  them  had 
recently  migrated  to  Philadelphia  at  the  time  of  the  study,  he 
remained  in  the  city  until  January,  1898.  Many  years  later, 
DuBois  described  his  call  to  Philadelphia  and  his  stay  there: 

15.  Dusk  of  Dawn,  p.  51. 


Introduction  to  the  1967  Edition  xix 

In  the  fall  of  1896,  I  went  to  the  University  of  Pennsylvania  as 
"Assistant  Instructor"  in  Sociology.  It  all  happened  this  way: 
Philadelphia,  then  and  still  one  of  the  worst  governed  of  Amer 
ica's  badly  governed  cities,  was  having  one  of  its  periodic  spasms 
of  reform.  A  thorough  study  of  causes  was  called  for.  Not  but 
what  the  underlying  cause  was  evident  to  most  white  Philadel- 
phians:  the  corrupt,  semi-criminal  vote  of  the  Negro  Seventh 
Ward,  Everyone  agreed  that  here  lay  the  cancer;  but  would 
it  not  be  well  to  elucidate  the  known  causes  by  a  scientific 
investigation,  with  the  imprimatur  of  the  University?  It  certainly 
would,  answered  Samuel  McCune  Lindsay  of  the  Department 
of  Sociology.  And  he  put  his  finger  on  me  for  the  task. 

There  must  have  been  some  opposition,  for  the  invitation 
was  not  particularly  cordial.  I  was  offered  a  salary  of  $800  for  a 
limited  period  of  one  year.  I  was  given  no  real  academic 
standing,  no  office  at  the  University,  no  official  recognition  of 
any  kind;  my  name  was  even  eventually  omitted  from  the 
catalogue;  I  had  no  contact  with  students,  and  very  little  with 
members  of  the  faculty,  even  in  my  department.  With  my  bride 
of  three  months,  I  settled  in  one  room  over  a  cafeteria  run  by  a 
College  Settlement,  in  the  worst  part  of  the  Seventh  Ward.  We 
lived  there  a  year,  in  the  midst  of  an  atomosphere  of  dirt, 
drunkenness,  poverty  and  crime.  Murder  sat  on  our  doorsteps, 
police  were  our  government,  and  philanthropy  dropped  in  with 
periodic  advice.16 

These  are  bitter  words.  And  apparently  DuBois  was  not  quite 
true  to  the  facts  of  the  case.  There  was  no  evidence  in  the 
minutes  of  the  University's  Board  of  Trustees  of  any  "opposition" 
to  the  appointment.  On  a  request  for  information  on  the  case 
from  a  DuBois  biographer,  the  late  Professor  Lindsay  replied  that 
DuBois  was  "quite  mistaken  about  the  attitude  of  the  Sociology 
Department.  It  was  quite  friendly,  I  am  sure,  and  as  far  as  I 
know  that  was  true  of  the  entire  Wharton  School  faculty."17  I 
have  quoted  this  passage  from  DuBois'  writings,  nevertheless, 
because  it  suggests  his  own  bitterness  in  1944,  when  he  wrote  the 
passage,  at  the  general  neglect  in  this  country  of  the  Negro 
problem  in  the  four  decades  following  his  publication  of  The 


16.  Logan,  op.  cit.,  p.  44. 

17.  Rudwick,  op.  cit.,  p.  32. 


xx  Introduction  to  the  1967  Edition 

Philadelphia  Negro.  More  important,  I  think,  it  may  very  well 
reflect  the  spirit  if  not  the  letter  of  the  thoughtless  rather  than 
malicious  attitudes  of  whites  of  that  era  toward  an  educated  and 
fastidious  Negro  like  DuBois.  For  DuBois  was  very  sensitive  to 
the  climate  of  opinion  at  that  time  which,  by  and  large,  assumed 
the  inferiority  of  all  Negroes,  whether  educated  or  not. 

The  life  and  thought  of  every  age,  one  would  suppose,  is 
always  marked,  like  the  lif  e  of  every  individual,  by  ambivalence, 
paradox,  and  contradictions.  In  other  words,  just  when  many  men 
and  women  like  Beatrice  Webb,  Jane  Addams,  or  Miss  Wharton 
were  dedicating  their  lives  trying  to  understand  and  alleviate  the 
horrible  conditions  that  surrounded  the  lives  of  the  downtrodden 
at  the  turn  of  the  century,  the  dominant  values  of  the  com 
fortable  and  complacent  middle  classes  were  crudely  ma 
terialistic,  smugly  racist,  and  somewhat  self-righteous,  to  say  the 
least.  In  short,  the  1890's  were  indeed  marked  by  materialism  at 
the  top  and  misery  at  the  bottom  of  both  the  class  and  racial 
scales.  Thus  DuBois,  for  instance,  noted  that  the  year  1892 
marked  the  high  tide  of  lynchings  in  the  United  States;  it  was  also 
the  year  of  the  bitter  and  cruel  Homestead  Strike.  In  1894, 
Coxey's  Army  marched  on  Washington.  In  1895,  South  Carolina, 
following  the  lead  of  Mississippi,  and  under  the  leadership  of  the 
extreme  racist  Ben  Tillman,  disfranchised  its  Negroes;  in  the 
same  year,  the  Supreme  Court  of  the  United  States,  in  the  Plessy 
vs.  Ferguson  case,  sanctioned  the  "separate  but  equal"  standard 
that  Booker  T.  Washington  compromised  with  in  his  Atlanta 
speech;  and  between  1895  and  1909,  the  Negro  was  systema 
tically  disfranchised  throughout  the  South.  It  is  no  wonder  that 
many  Americans  responded  to  Bryan's  plea,  in  the  campaign  of 
1896,  that  Wall  Street  should  not  "crucify  mankind  upon  a  cross 
of  gold."  Perhaps  Kelly  Miller,  the  son  of  former  slaves  who  rose 
to  become  a  professor  of  sociology  at  Howard  University,  caught 
the  spirit  of  the  "Gay  Nineties/'  as  seen  from  the  Negro  point  of 
view,  in  the  following  summary  of  the  distinction  between 
Frederick  Douglass  and  Booker  T.  Washington: 

The  two  men  are  in  part  products  of  their  times,  but  also 
natural  antipodes.  Douglass  lived  in  the  day  of  moral  giants; 
Washington  lived  in  the  era  of  merchant  princes.  The  con 
temporaries  of  Douglass  emphasized  the  rights  of  man;  those  of 


Introduction  to  the  1967  Edition  xxi 

Washington,  his  productive  capacity.  The  age  of  Douglass 
acknowledged  the  sanction  of  the  Golden  Rule;  that  of 
Washington  worships  the  Rule  of  Gold,  The  equality  of  men 
was  constantly  dinned  into  Douglass'  ears;  Washington  hears 
nothing  but  the  inferiority  of  the  Negro  and  the  dominance  of 
the  Saxon.18 

The  Anglo-Saxon  complex  Kelly  Miller  was  referring  to  was,  of 
course,  a  reflection  of  the  inevitable  racial  implications  in  Social 
Darwinism,  which  was  the  overwhelmingly  dominant  ideology  in 
America  at  that  time.  In  an  age  when  men  thought  of  themselves 
as  having  evolved  from  the  ape  rather  than  having  been  created 
in  the  image  of  angels,  the  Negro,  it  was  almost  universally 
agreed  among  even  the  most  educated  people,  was  definitely  an 
inferior  breed  and  situated  at  the  very  base  of  the  evolutionary 
tree.  "Now  as  to  the  Negroes,"  Theodore  Roosevelt  wrote  to  his 
friend  Owen  Wister,  "I  entirely  agree  with  you  that  as  a  race  and 
in  the  mass  they  are  altogether  inferior  to  the  whites."  And 
Roosevelt  never  repeated  his  "mistake,"  as  he  called  it,  of  asking 
Booker  T.  Washington  or  any  other  Negro  to  the  White  House. 
For  he  was  very  sensitive  to  the  opinions  of  an  age  in  which,  as 
the  historian  Rayford  W.  Logan  has  written,  "both  newspapers 
and  magazines  stereotyped,  caricatured  and  ridiculed  Negroes  in 
atrocious  dialect  that  shocks  the  incredulous  reader  today.  Few 
newspapers  in  the  Deep  South  today  portray  the  Negro  in  such 
outlandish  fashion  as  did  the  spokesmen  for  the  'Genteel  Tra 
dition  in  the  North/"19  Nor  must  we  forget  that  very  distin 
guished  and  objective  social  scientists,  almost  without  exception, 
agreed  with  the  "Genteel  Tradition"  and  Roosevelt's  point  of 
view.  With  calipers  and  rulers  and  all  sorts  of  statistical  devices, 
they  were  busy  building  up  elaborate  classifications  of  the 
"inborn"  mental  and  psychological  traits  of  Nordics,  Aryans, 
Semites,  Teutons,  Hottentots,  Japs,  Turks,  Slavs,  and  Anglo- 
Saxons— with  Negroes  of  course  at  the  very  bottom  of  this  bio 
logical  hierarchy. 


18.  Quoted  in  E.  Franklin  Frazier,   The  Negro  in  the   United  States, 
p.  545. 

19.  Rayford  W.  Logan,  The  Negro  in  the  United  States;  A  Brief  History, 
p.  54. 


xxii  Introduction  to  the  1967  Edition 

Finally,  it  is  important  to  place  this  dominant  American 
ideology  in  a  larger  frame,  For  it  was  between  the  publication  of 
Darwin's  Origin  of  Species  by  Natural  Selection,  or  The  Preser 
vation  of  Favored  Races  in  the  Struggle  for  Life,  in  1859,  and  the 
Boer  War  in  1902,  that  white  Western  men  conquered,  explored, 
fought  over,  and  partitioned  among  themselves  the  continent  of 
black  Africa  below  the  Sierra.  The  year  of  1896,  when  DuBois 
went  to  Philadelphia,  also  witnessed  Queen  Victoria's  Diamond 
Jubilee  celebration,  a  symbol  of  the  high  tide  of  "white  su 
premacy"  throughout  the  world. 

It  was,  then,  in  the  most  discouraging  and  deplorable  period 
in  the  history  of  the  American  Negro  since  the  Civil  War  that 
young  DuBois  came  to  Philadelphia  and  set  about  doing  a 
thorough  and  objective  study  of  the  Negro  community.  That  the 
book,  when  finally  published  in  1899,  succeeded  in  being  ob 
jective,  most  modern  readers,  I  think,  will  recognize.  But  even 
at  the  time  of  its  publication,  its  reviewers  were  equally 
impressed  with  the  author's  critical  and  thorough  methods  of 
research.  In  the  Yale  Review,  a  reviewer  found  the  book  to  be  "a 
credit  to  American  scholarship  .  .  .  the  sort  of  book  of  which  we 
have  too  few.  . .  .  Here  is  an  inquiry,  covering  a  specific  field  and 
a  considerable  period  of  time,  and  persecuted  with  candor, 
thoroughness  and  critical  judgment."20  The  reviewer  in  The 
Annals  of  the  American  Academy  of  Political  and  Social  Science 
(a  Southerner)  found  the  book  to  be  "exceptional  and  scholar 
ly.  ...  It  is  a  critical,  discriminating  statement  of  the  conditions 
and  results  of  Negro  life  in  a  large,  northern  seaboard  city  a 
little  more  than  thirty  years  after  the  Civil  War  .  .  .  and  its  perma 
nent  national  value  to  the  scholar  and  the  statesman  is  pre 
dicted."21  The  reviewer  in  The  Nation  was  especially  im 
pressed  with  the  historical  material  included  in  the  book  and 
only  criticized  the  author  for  taking  "too  gloomy  a  view  of  the 
situation/'22  The  Outlook  review  was  long,  detailed,  and  filled 
with  praise:  the  historical  background  alone,  thought  tibe  re- 


20.  Yale  Review,  IX  (May,  1900),  110-11. 

21.  The  Annals  of  the  American  Academy  of  Social  and  Political  Science, 
XV  (January-May,  1900),  101. 

22.  The  Nation,  LXIX  (1899),  310. 


Introduction  to  the  1967  Edition  xxiii 

viewer,  "would  of  itself  give  this  volume  exceptional  value."23 
And  he  went  on  to  praise  DuBois'  objectivity:  "In  no  respect  does 
Dr.  DuBois  attempt  to  bend  the  facts  so  as  to  plead  for  his  race 
...  he  is  less  apologetic  than  a  generous-minded  white  writer 
might  be.  ...  Professor  DuBois'  aim  is  always  to  keep  well  with 
in  the  field  where  his  generalizations  cannot  be  disputed."24 

Thus  the  reviews  at  the  time  of  publication  invariably  praised 
the  book  and  remarked  on  the  objectivity  of  the  author.  In  fact, 
between  the  lines  one  has  the  impression  that  most  of  the  white 
reviewers  were  rather  surprised  that  a  Negro  author  could  have 
been  capable  of  a  work  of  such  careful  scholarship  and  objec 
tivity.  In  spite  of  this,  one  is  amazed  to  find  that  the  reviewers 
did  not  come  out  openly  and  criticize  DuBois'  definitely  en 
vironmental,  rather  than  racial,  approach  to  the  problems  of  the 
Philadelphia  Negroes.  There  was  only  a  hint  of  this  in  the 
American  Historical  Review,  in  which  the  reviewer  praised  the 
book  but  questioned  the  author's  optimism  in  regarding  the 
Negro  problem  as  soluble,  in  the  long  run,  in  terms  of  status  and 
environmental  improvement.  The  reviewer  also,  incidentally, 
appeared  to  be  worried  about  "race  pollution/  The  tone  of  the 
review  is  suggested  by  the  following  lines: 

The  book  is  not  merely  a  census-like  volume  of  many  tables 
and  diagrams  of  the  colored  people  of  Philadelphia.  The  author 
seeks  to  interpret  the  meaning  of  statistics  in  the  light  of  social 
movements  and  the  characteristics  of  the  times,  as,  for  instance, 
the  growth  of  the  city  by  foreign  immigration.  ...  He  is 
perfectly  frank,  laying  all  necessary  stress  on  the  weaknesses  of 
his  people.  ...  He  shows  a  remarkable  spirit  of  fairness.  If  any 
conclusions  are  faulty,  the  fault  lies  in  the  overweight  given  to 
some  of  his  beliefs  and  hopes.25 

After  praising  DuBois'  fairness  and  outlining  some  of  his 
findings,  the  reviewer  criticizes  DuBois'  hopes: 

This  state  of  things  is  due  chiefly,  in  Dr.  DuBois7  judgment, 
to  a  color  prejudice,  and  this  he  believes  can  be  done  away 
with  in  time,  just  as  the  class  prejudices  of  earlier  centuries  in 


23.  Outkok,  LXIII  (1899),  647-48 

24.  Ibid. 

25.  American  Historical  Review,  VI  (1900-1901),  163. 


xxiv  Introduction  to  the  1967  Edition 

Europe  are  being  wiped  out  gradually  ,  .  .  but  we  need,  what 
Dr.  DuBois  does  not  give,  more  knowledge  of  the  effects  of  the 
mixing  of  blood  of  very  different  races,  and  the  possibilities  of 
absorption  of  inferior  into  superior  groups  of  mankind.  He 
speaks  of  the  "natural  repugnance  to  close  intermingling  with 
unfortunate  ex-slaves,"  but  we  believe  that  the  separation  is 
due  to  differences  of  race  more  than  of  status.26 

The  hereditarian  or  racial  as  against  the  environmental  or 
cultural  approaches  to  .the  causes  of  the  differences  between 
Negroes  and  whites,  both  in  America  and  in  other  parts  of  the 
world,  divide  men  to  this  day.  Perhaps  the  ultimate  truth  lies  in  a 
"both/ and"  rather  than  an  "either/or"  approach.  Nevertheless— 
and  especially  in  an  age  such  as  our  own  which  tends  to  assume, 
often  dogmatically,  the  greater  importance  of  environment  and 
culture—one  must  look  back  on  The  Philadelphia  Negro  as  a 
pioneering  attempt  to  objectively  advance  this  modern  approach 
in  an  era  when  most  men  deeply  and  sincerely  felt  that  fixed 
hereditary  aptitudes  differentiated  the  races  of  men  and  con 
sequently  precluded  any  possibility  of  eventual  integration  on  a 
plane  of  social,  cultural,  and  political  equality,  Thus,  in  answer  to 
his  hereditarian  opponents  such  as  the  reviewer  in  the  American 
Historical  Review,  DuBois  fell  back  on  his  own  broad  historical 
perspective  by  reminding  his  readers  in  the  closing  pages  how 
many  once-held  hereditarian  dogmas  had  already  been  eroded  by 
the  passage  of  time  and  the  changing  social  situation: 

We  rather  hasten  to  forget  that  once  the  courtiers  of  English 
kings  looked  upon  the  ancestors  of  most  Americans  with  far 
greater  contempt  than  these  Americans  look  upon  Negroes— 
and  perhaps,  indeed,  had  more  cause.  We  forget  that  once 
French  peasants  were  the  "Niggers"  of  France,  and  that 
German  princelings  once  discussed  with  doubt  the  brains  and 
humanity  of  the  bauer  (p.  386) . 

It  was,  then,  not  only  DuBois'  painstaking  methods  of 
research  and  his  objective  interpretations  of  the  evidence  that  has 
given  The  Philadelphia  Negro  a  permanent  place  in  the  socio- 

26.  Ibid.,  p.  164. 


Introduction  to  the  1967  Edition  xxv 

logical  literature.  It  was  also  the  fact  that  DuBois  brought  a 
thoroughly  sociological  point  of  view  to  bear  on  this  carefully 
collected  evidence.  In  other  words,  the  book,  in  emphasizing  an 
environmental  point  of  view,  made  a  definite  theoretical  con 
tribution.  Some  four  decades  later,  for  example,  the  authors  of  an 
important  modern  study  of  the  Negro  community  in  Chicago, 
Black  Metropolis,  explicitly  referred  to  this  contribution  as 
follows: 

In  1899,  Dr.  W.  E.  B.  DuBois  published  the  first  important 
sociological  study  of  a  Negro  community  in  the  United  States— 
The  Philadelphia  Negro  (University  of  Pennsylvania).  At  the 
outset,  he  presented  an  ecological  map  detailing  the  distri 
bution  of  the  Negro  population  by  "social  condition,"  and 
divided  his  subjects  into  four  "grades:"  (1)  the  "middle 
classes"  and  those  above;  (2)  the  working  people-fair  to 
comfortable;  (3)  the  poor;  (4)  vicious  and  criminal  classes. 
Despite  the  economic  emphasis  in  this  classification  and  his 
extensive  presentation  of  data  on  physical  surroundings,  Du 
Bois  concluded  that  "there  is  a  far  mightier  influence  to  mold 
and  make  the  citizen,  and  that  is  the  social  atmosphere  which 
surrounds  him;  first  his  daily  companionship,  the  thoughts  and 
whims  of  his  class;  then  his  recreation  and  amusements;  finally 
the  surrounding  world  of  American  civilization"  (p.  309).  This 
emphasis  upon  the  social  relations-in  family,  clique,  church, 
voluntary  associations,  school,  and  job—as  the  decisive  ele 
ments  in  personality  formation  is  generally  accepted.  The 
authors  feel  that  it  should  also  be  the  guiding  thread  in  a  study 
of  "class".  .  .  all  serious  students  of  Negro  communities  since 
DuBois  have  been  concerned  with  the  nature  of  social  stratifi 
cation.  ...  In  the  Thirties  this  interest  was  given  added 
stimulus  by  the  suggestive  hypotheses  thrown  out  by  Professor 
W.  Lloyd  Warner  and  by  a  general  concern  in  anthropological 
and  sociological  circles  with  social  stratification  in  America.27 

As  this  quotation  from  Black  Metropolis  suggests,  there  has 
been  a  direct  intellectual  line  between  DuBois'  emphasis  on  class 
and  social  environment  as  major  causal  agents  in  personality 
formation  and  a  whole  subsequent  tradition  in  American  soci- 

27.  St.  Clair  Drake  and  Horace  R.  Cayton,  Black  Metropolis,  pp.  787-88. 


xxvi  Introduction  to  the  1967  Edition 

ology.  Thus,  for  example,  Franz  Boas  in  his  Lowell  Lecture,  The 
Mind  of  Primitive  Man  (1911),  was  echoing  the  findings  and 
conclusions  of  DuBois  when  he  wrote  that  "the  traits  of  the 
American  Negro  are  adequately  explained  on  the  basis  of  his 
history  and  his  social  status  .  .  ,  without  falling  back  upon  the 
theory  of  hereditary  inferiority."28  And  the  tradition  continued 
through  W.  I.  Thomas  and  Florian  Znanieckfs  classic  and 
pioneering  study  of  the  adjustment  to  the  urban  environment  of 
Polish  peasants  in  Chicago  and  Warsaw  ( The  Polish  Peasant  in 
Europe  and  America  1918-21),  through  the  whole  school  of 
urban  sociology  which  Robert  E.  Park  (for  some  time  an  assistant 
and  colleague  of  Booker  T.  Washington  at  Tuskegee)  inspired  at 
the  University  of  Chicago  during  the  1920's,  to  the  later  W.  Lloyd 
Warner  school  of  community  studies  at  Harvard  and  Chicago, 
which  inspired  Black  Metropolis  and  Deep  South  as  well  as  the 
classic  Yankee  City  Series.  The  origins,  in  both  method  and 
theoretical  point  of  view,  of  all  of  these  studies  are  to  be  found  in 
The  Philadelphia  Negro. 

In  many  ways,  DuBois'  whole  life  experiences  before  coming 
to  Philadelphia  in  1896— his  youth,  when  he  competed  on  his 
merits  with  his  peers  in  the  white  community  in  Great  Barring- 
ton,  his  observations  of  the  faculty  and  students  at  Fisk  as  well  as 
the  poorest  and  most  primitive  Negroes  in  West  Tennessee,  his 
own  achievements  at  Harvard  as  well  as  his  contacts  with  great 
teachers  like  William  James,  and  his  witnessing  the  attitudes  of 
educated  Europeans  toward  hruself— all  combined  to  prepare 
him  to  see  that  racial  inequality  was  partly  a  matter  of  class 
inequality  and  to  emphasize  the  need  for  stratification  and  the 
creation  of  an  open  and  talented  elite  class  within  the  Negro 
community.  And,  above  all,  he  emphasized  the  fact  that  this  class, 
already  existing  in  nascent  form  in  Philadelphia,  must  be 
recognized  by  members  of  the  white  community  who  were 
forever  judging  all  Negroes  on  the  basis  of  the  behavior  of  the 
"submerged  tenth."  "In  many  respects  it  is  right  and  proper  to 
judge  a  people  by  its  best  classes  rather  than  by  its  worst  classes 
or  middle  ranks,"  he  wrote  in  the  excellent  chapter  on  "The 
Environment  of  the  Negro"  (p.  316).  "The  highest  class  of  any 

28.  Franz  Boas,  The  Mind  of  Primitive  Man  (New  York,  1911 ),  p.  272. 


Introduction  to  the  1967  Edition  xxvii 

group/'  he  continued,  "represents  its  possibilities  rather  than  its 
expectations,  as  is  so  often  assumed  in  regard  to  the  Negro.  The 
colored  people  are  seldom  judged  by  their  best  classes,  and  often 
the  very  existence  of  classes  among  them  is  ignored."  Thus 
DuBois  saw  very  clearly  that  the  white  community's  propensity  to 
see  all  Negroes  as  part  of  one  homogeneous  mass  served  as  a 
rationalization  for  their  own  racist  thinking.  Much  of  the 
charitable  work  among  the  depressed  classes  of  Negroes,  more 
over,  only  served  to  reinforce  white  prejudices :  "Thus  the  class  of 
Negroes  which  the  prejudices  of  the  city  have  distinctly  en 
couraged,"  wrote  DuBois,  "is  that  of  the  criminal,  the  lazy  and  the 
shiftless;  for  them  the  city  teems  with  institutions  and  charities; 
for  them  there  is  succor  and  sympathy;  for  them  Philadelphians 
are  thinking  and  planning;  but  for  the  educated  and  industrious 
young  colored  man  who  wants  work  and  not  platitudes,  wages 
and  not  alms,  just  rewards  and  not  sermons— for  such  colored 
men  Philadelphia  apparently  has  no  use"  (p.  352). 

While  DuBois  was  rightly  critical  of  the  white  community,  he 
also  criticized  upper-class  Negroes  for  not  taking  the  lead  among 
their  own  people: 

The  aristocracy  of  the  Negro  population  in  education,  wealth 
and  general  social  efficiency  ...  are  not  the  leaders  or  the  ideal- 
makers  of  their  own  group  in  thought,  work,  or  morals.  They 
teach  the  masses  to  a  very  small  extent,  mingle  with  them  but 
little,  do  not  largely  hire  their  labor.  Instead  then  of  social 
classes  held  together  by  strong  ties  of  mutual  interest  we  have 
in  the  case  of  the  Negroes,  classes  who  have  much  to  keep 
them  apart,  and  only  community  of  blood  and  color  prejudice 
to  bind  them  togethere.  .  .  .  The  first  impulse  of  the  best,  the 
wisest  and  richest  is  to  segregate  themselves  from  the  mass  .  .  . 
they  make  their  mistake  in  failing  to  recognize  that  however 
laudable  an  ambition  to  rise  may  be,  the  first  duty  of  an  upper 
class  is  to  serve  the  lowest  classes.  The  aristocracies  of  all 
peoples  have  been  slow  in  learning  this  and  perhaps  the  Negro 
is  no  slower  than  the  rest,  but  his  peculiar  situation  demands 
that  in  his  case  this  lesson  be  learned  sooner  (pp.  316-17). 

In  emphasizing  the  need  for  a  properly  functioning  class 
structure  within  the  Negro  community,  DuBois  was  anticipating 


xxviii  Introduction  to  the  1967  Edition 

one  of  the  major  themes  of  the  late  E.  Franklin  Frazier  s  classic 
study  of  the  emerging  Negro  middle  class  in  America.  Half  a 
century  after  DuBois'  study  of  Philadelphia,  Professor  Frazier 
(the  first  Negro  to  be  elected  president  of  the  American  Soci 
ological  Society)  wrote  in  his  Black  Bourgeoisie: 

Because  of  its  struggle  to  gain  acceptance  by  whites,  the 
black  bourgeoisie  has  failed  to  play  the  role  of  a  responsible 
elite  in  the  Negro  community  .  .  .  they  have  no  real  interest  in 
education  and  genuine  culture  and  spend  their  leisure  in 
frivolities  and  in  activities  designed  to  win  a  place  in  Negro 
"society."  The  single  factor  that  has  dominated  the  mental 
outlook  of  the  black  bourgeoisie  has  been  its  obsession  with  the 
struggle  for  status.29 

In  the  long  run,  one  of  the  most  important  contributions  of 
this  book,  as  more  than  one  reviewer  at  the  time  of  its  publication 
noted,  may  well  be  the  fact  that  it  is  the  best  documented  his 
torical  record  of  an  urban  and  Northern  Negro  community  in 
existence.  Fortunately,  DuBois  was  well  trained  in,  and  devoted 
to,  the  historian's  craft.  But  it  was  also  fortunate  that  the  city  of 
Philadelphia  possessed  the  oldest  and,  in  1896,  the  largest 
Northern  Negro  community  in  the  nation,  exceeded  in  population 
only  by  the  three  Southern  Negro  communities  of  New  Orleans, 
Washington,  D;C.,  and  Baltimore  (a  border  city). 

In  fact,  Negroes  had  been  brought  up  the  Delaware  by  the 
Swedes  before  Penn  founded  the  Colony  in  1682.  In  the  city 
where  the  Declaration  of  Independence  was  written  and  the 
nation  founded,  the  Negroes  also  had  an  important  history,  which 
DuBois  carefully  documented:  here  in  Philadelphia  was  the  first 
expression  against  the  slave  trade,  the  first  organization  for  the 
abolition  of  slavery,  the  first  legislative  enactments  for  the 
abolition  of  slavery,  the  first  attempt  at  Negro  education,  the  first 
Negro  convention,  and  so  forth. 

Since  DuBois  himself,  in  this  study  and  in  many  others,  con 
tributed  so  much  to  the  understanding  of  his  people's  history,  it 
seems  most  appropriate  to  close  this  introduction  with  a  brief 
history  of  some  of  the  more  important  sociological  changes  in  the 

29.  E,  Franklin  Frazier,  Black  Bourgeoisie,  pp.  235-36. 


Introduction  to  the  1967  Edition  xxix 

Philadelphia  Negro  community  since  the  turn  of  the  nineteenth 
century. 

The  Philadelphia  Negro  Since  DuBois 

The  most  striking  thing  about  the  development  of  the  Phil 
adelphia  Negro  community  since  DuBois'  day  is  its  steady 
increase  in  size.  In  fact,  the  steady  migration  of  Southern  Negroes 
to  Philadelphia  began  in  the  decade  of  the  1890?s  ( see  Table  1 ) 


Table  1 

PHILADELPHIA  NEGRO  POPULATION 
Increase  by  Decades  (1890-1960) 


INCREASE 
DECADE  POPULATION  NUMBER  PER  CENT 


1880 

31,699 

1890 

39,371 

7,672 

24 

1900 

62,613 

23,242 

60 

1910 

84,459 

21,846 

33 

1920 

134,229 

49,770 

58 

1930 

219,599 

85,370 

63 

1940 

250,880 

31,281 

14 

1950 

376,041 

125,161 

50 

1960 

529,239 

153,198 

30 

and  kept  up  throughout  the  twentieth  century.  DuBois  saw  this 
increasing  pace  of  migration  and  consequently  went  to  Virginia 
during  the  first  summer  of  his  study  in  order  to  see  how  the 
Negroes  lived  in  the  rural  areas,  the  better  to  understand  their 
problems  of  adjustment  to  urban  life.  The  pace  of  migration,  of 
course,  was  greatly  increased  during  World  War  I  and  the  1920's. 
At  the  same  time,  anti-Negro  attitudes  increased,  producing  racial 
strife,  increasing  segregation  in  public  places,  and  a  rapid  rise  in 
residential  ghettoization.  Migration  slowed  down  during  the 
1930's,  then  increased  again  during  World  War  II  and  the 
postwar  years,  until  today  the  Negroes  constitute  over  one  fourth 


XXX 


Introduction  to  the  1967  Edition 


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xxxii  Introduction  to  the  1967  Edition 

of  the  city's  residents  in  contrast  to  the  less  than  5  per  cent 
minority  of  DuBois'  day. 

With  the  steady  increase  in  the  size  of  the  Negro  population, 
the  pattern  of  residential  distribution  also  changed.  In  contrast  to 
1890,  when  most  of  the  city's  Negroes  lived  in  the  center  of  the 
city  and  close  to  their  white  neighbors,  by  1960,  a  majority  of 
Negroes  had  moved  to  the  southern,  northern,  and  western 
sections  of  the  city  (Table  2).  In  1960,  for  the  first  time  in  the 
city's  history,  one  whole  city  section  contained  more  Negro  than 
white  residents  (Table  2:  70  per  cent  Negro  in  North  Phila 
delphia).  The  changing  size  and  residential  distribution  of  the 
Negro  population  has,  of  course,  been  both  cause  and  result  of 
changing  social  relations  between  the  races. 

In  Philadelphia  in  the  1890's,  the  largest  concentration  of 
Negroes  was  in  the  Seventh  Ward  which  DuBois  studied  in 
detail.  But  this  Ward  was,  at  the  same  time,  the  center  of  the 
city's  "silk  stocking"  or  upper-class  neighborhood.  The  majority  of 
the  Negroes  in  the  Ward  were  employed  as  domestic  servants, 
and  lived  in  close  proximity  to  (if  not  in  the  homes  of)  their 
employers.  Social  relations  between  whites  and  Negroes,  there 
fore,  were  marked  by  clear  status  differentials  and  high  social 
interaction,  rather  than  by  the  residential  segregation,  and  low 
social  interaction  which  characterizes  the  relations  between  the 
races  today.  In  1960,  the  Seventh  Ward,  as  in  its  heyday  of 
fashion  in  the  1890's,  is  still  about  one-third  Negro.  But  most  of 
the  members  of  the  white  upper  class  have  migrated  to  the 
suburbs.  Though  there  are  still  a  few  fashionable  white  blocks, 
many  of  the  old  mansions  have  long  since  been  converted  into 
cultural  institutions,  apartments,  rooming  houses,  and  offices  for 
physicians  and  other  professional  people.  Both  the  white  and 
Negro  populations  have  steadily  declined  in  absolute  numbers: 
In  1890,  the  Seventh  Ward  had  30,179  residents  of  whom  8,861 
(or  30  per  cent)  were  Negroes;  in  1960,  there  were  only  17,079 
residents  in  the  Ward,  of  whom  6,308  (or  35  per  cent)  were 
Negroes.30  And  of  course,  in  our  modern,  mechanized  world  of 
smaller  middle-class  households,  live-in  domestic  servants  are  no 

30.  Population  of  Philadelphia  Sections  and  Wards  1860-1960. 


Introduction  to  the  1967  Edition  xxxiii 

longer  fashionable  or  economically  feasible,  producing  a  con 
sequent  decline  in  social  relations  between  the  races. 

Following  a  pattern  set  by  the  Georgetown  comrnunity  in 
Washington,  D.C.,  in  an  earlier  day,  the  Seventh  Ward  has  been 
witnessing,  during  the  1960's,  a  steadily  increasing  pattern  of 
white  invasion  of  the  Negro  areas  of  the  Ward.  Though  the  Ward 
has  recently  been  absorbed  into  one  all-inclusive  center-city 
ward,  its  traditional  area  will  be  largely  white  by  1970.  More  and 
more  white,  suburban  families  are  now  moving  back  to  the  city, 
both  those  who  have  raised  their  children  and  those  of  the 
younger  generation  who  are  disenchanted  with  the  suburban  way 
of  life.  But  they  will  be  moving  back  to  a  more  and  more 
segregated  city,  as  the  figures  in  Tables  2  and  3  clearly  show. 

Fortunately  for  the  historian  and  the  sociologist,  there  were 
three  major  ghettoized  Negro  wards  in  the  city  in  1960  which  had 
not  had  their  boundaries  changed  since  1890  (Table  3).  The 
changing  racial  composition  of  these  three  wards  reflects  the 
history  of  the  Negro  community  in  the  city  in  the  twentieth 
century.  As  an  inspection  of  the  figures  in  Table  3  will  show,  all 
three  of  these  wards  contained  a  small  minority  of  Negro 
residents  in  1890.  But,  as  the  size  of  the  Philadelphia  Negro 
community  steadily  increased  in  the  twentieth  century,  each  ward 
eventually  became  ghettoized  in  a  definite  historical  pattern.  The 
Thirtieth  Ward,  which  lies  just  to  the  South  of  the  Seventh  ( see 
Ward  Map  in  1890,  p.  60),  became  the  city's  first  Negro  ghetto 
(51  per  cent  Negro  in  1920).  It  was  no  accident  that  Phila 
delphia's  first  race  riot  in  the  twentieth  century,  in  the  summer  of 
1918,  took  place  on  the  southern  boundary  of  the  Thirtieth  Ward. 
Thus  in  her  Ph.D.  dissertation  at  the  University  of  Pennsylvania, 
published  in  1921,  Sadie  Tanner  Mossell  (now  Mrs.  Raymond 
Pace  Alexander,  wife  of  a  noted  jurist,  and  herself  a  lawyer  and 
chairman  of  Philadephia's  Commission  on  Human  Relations) 
wrote  that  "a  colored  probation  officer  of  the  Municipal  Court, 
a  woman  of  refinement  and  training  and  an  old  citizen  of  Phila 
delphia,  purchased  and  took  up  residence  at  the  house  numbered 
2936  Ellsworth  Street.  The  white  people  in  the  neighborhood 


xxxiv  Introduction  to  the  1967  Edition 

resented  her  living  there  and  besieged  the  house.  A  race  riot 
ensued  in  which  two  men  were  killed  and  sixty  injured."31 

The  steady  migration  of  Negroes  into  the  city  during  the  war 
years  and  the  1920's  not  only  contributed  to  the  ghettoization  of 
the  Negro  community;  it  also  contributed  to  the  segregation  of 
Negro  children  in  the  schools  and  the  closing  of  most  of  the  city's 
commercial  and  entertainment  centers  to  Negroes:  As  Miss 
Mossell  noted,  "such  social  privileges  as  the  service  of  eating 
houses  and  the  attending  of  white  churches  and  theaters  by 
Negroes,  were  practically  withdrawn  after  the  influx  of  Negro 
migrants  into  Philadelphia."32  The  older  Negro  residents  of  the 
city  were  naturally  upset  by  this  new  segregation.  The  Mossell 
study  continued: 

The  old  colored  citizens  of  Philadelphia  resented  this.  Placed 
the  blame  at  the  migrant's  door  and  stood  aloof  from  him. 
Negro  preachers  invited  the  new  arrivals  into  the  church  but 
many  of  the  congregations  made  him  know  that  he  was  not 
wanted.  In  some  cases  the  church  split  over  the  matter,  the 
migrants  and  their  sympathizers  withdrawing  and  forming  a 
church  for  themselves.33 

South  Philadelphia,  especially  the  southern  part  of  the 
Seventh  Ward  running  along  Lombard  and  South  (the  oldest 
Negro  commerical  street  in  the  city)  streets,  together  with  the 
whole  Thirtieth  Ward,  was  Philadelphia's  first  Negro  ghetto. 
And  it  remained  so  from  the  1920's  through  World  War  II. 
Beginning  in  the  1920's,  however,  another  Negro  ghetto  began 
to  develop  in  North  Philadelphia  (see  Tables  2  and  3).  Thus  in 
1920,  the  Thirty-second  Ward  was  composed  primarily  of 
residents  of  foreign-born  and  foreign-stock  (mostly  Jewish) 
origins.  In  the  course  of  the  next  decade,  however,  the  Negro 
population  increased  almost  fourfold,  and  by  1930  made  up 
nearly  one  third  of  the  Ward's  residents  (Table  3).  By  1940, 
the  Thirty-second  Ward  was  about  half  Negro,  as  was  the 
Forty-seventh,  an  immediately  adjacent  ward  to  the  south  (the 

31.  Sadie    Tanner    Mossell,    "The    Standard    of    Living    Among    One 
Hundred  Negro  Migrant  Families  in  Philadelphia,"  p.  9. 

32.  Ibid. 

33.  Ibid. 


Introduction  to  the  1967  Edition  xxxv 

Forty-seventh  was  cut  out  of  the  eastern  half  of  the  Twenty- 
ninth  after  the  1910  census  and  hence  not  used  for  Table  3). 
By  1950,  the  Thirty-second,  the  Forty-seventh,  and  three  other 
North  Philadelphia  wards  were  over  half  Negro;  by  1960,  this 
whole  section  became  the  city's  major  ghetto  (70  per  cent 
Negro ) . 

During  the  long,  hot  summer  of  1964,  a  series  of  race 
riots  broke  out  in  major  American  cities,  beginning  in  Harlem  in 
July  and  ending  in  Philadelphia  on  the  last  day  of  August.  Just  as 
the  riot  of  1918  had  broken  out  along  the  boundary  of  the 
Thirtieth  Ward  ghetto,  so  it  was  no  accident  that  the  racial 
disturbance  in  1964  broke  out  on  the  boundary  between  wards 
Thirty-two  and  Forty-seven,  along  Columbia  Avenue  at  22nd 
Street,  when  a  husband  and  wife,  both  intoxicated,  were  found 
quarreling  by  the  police.  Rioting  soon  spread  throughout  the 
North  Philadelphia  ghetto,  killing  two  persons,  injuring  339,  and 
producing  some  $3  million  worth  of  property  damage. 

The  causes  of  any  riot  are  many  and  complex.  But  DuBois 
would  have  agreed  that  one  of  the  important  causes  in  1964  was 
the  fact  that  the  Negro  masses  in  North  Philadelphia  were  almost 
completely  cut  off  from  the  more  affluent  and  successful 
members  of  their  own  race.  Most  of  the  solid  Negro  citizens  live 
in  more  suburban  areas  of  the  city  and,  like  their  counterparts 
whom  DuBois  criticized  in  his  day,  are  more  concerned  with  their 
own  careers  than  with  the  problems  of  racial  leadership.  An  ex 
ception  was  the  local  head  of  the  NAACP,  Cecil  Moore,  a  flam 
boyant,  charming,  but  often  irresponsible  individual  who  has 
stepped  into  the  leadership  vacuum  left  by  the  more  solid  Negro 
establishment.  For  unlike  the  establishment  Negroes,  Moore  re 
sides  within  the  North  Philadelphia  ghetto  and  was  on  the  scene 
during  the  riots,  doing  his  best  to  calm  his  neighbors  down. 
Lenora  E.  Berson,  in  her  study  of  the  riot,  wrote: 

Today,  only  the  National  Association  for  the  Advancement 
of  Colored  People  (NAACP)  has  any  real  following  in  North 
Philadelphia.  The  Student  Non-Violent  Coordinating  Com 
mittee  (SNCC)  and  the  Congress  of  Racial  Equality  (CORE) 
have  made  little  headway  in  the  city. 

Since  his  ascension  to  the  presidency  of  the  Philadelphia 


xxxvi  Introduction  to  the  1967  Edition 

Branch  in  January,  1963,  Cecil  Moore  has  transformed  the 
NAACP  from  a  conservative  institution  into  a  mass-member 
ship  action  organization. 

Much  of  Moore's  strength  within  the  local  NAACP  comes 
from  its  North  Philadelphia  members,  whom  he  recruited  into 
the  organization.  Unlike  most  Negro  leaders,  Moore  lives  in  the 
riot  area.  He  calls  the  North  Philadelphians  "my  people,"  and 
many  feel  they  are  just  that.  In  a  poll  of  residents  conducted  by 
Radio  Station  WDAS,  Moore  was  found  to  be  far  and  away  the 
best-known  Philadelphia  Negro.34 

The  last  Negro  ghetto  to  develop  was  that  of  West  Phila 
delphia.  By  1950,  the  Twenty-fourth  Ward  had  more  Negro  than 
white  residents  for  the  first  time.  It  has  never  reached  the  high 
proportion  of  Negroes  which  marks  the  Thirtieth  in  South 
Philadelphia,  or  the  Thirty-second  in  North  Philadelphia,  largely 
because,  since  the  1950's,  the  southern  part  of  the  ward  has 
developed  into  a  bohemian  and  intellectual  community.  Once  an 
elite  residential  neighborhood  containing  some  of  the  finest 
examples  of  Victorian  architecture  in  the  city,  this  part  of  the 
Twenty-fourth,  known  as  "Powelton  Village,"  has  become  a  more 
or  less  integrated  and  middle-class  community,  made  up  largely 
of  graduate  students  and  faculty  members  of  the  University  of 
Pennsylvania  and  other  local  institutions,  as  well  as  other 
professionals  possessing  liberal  or  bohemian  values.  There  is  a 
great  deal  of  neighborhhod  pride  in  this  area  and  some  civic 
concern  for  life  in  the  neighboring  ghetto  to  the  north. 

By  I960,  fourteen  wards  in  the  city—eight  in  North  Phila 
delphia,  three  in  South  Philadelphia,  and  three  in  West  Phil 
adelphia—contained  a  majority  of  Negro  residents.  Indeed,  the 
racial  composition  of  the  city  and  the  residential  distribution  of 
its  Negroes  had  changed  beyond  recognition  since  DuBois'  day. 

And  so  in  many  ways  had  the  economic  position  of  the 
Negroes,  both  for  the  better  and  for  the  worse.  DuBois  was 
vitally  concerned  with  the  depressed  and  segregated  economic 
plight  of  the  Negroes  in  the  last  decade  of  the  nineteenth  century, 
which  was  probably  worse  than  it  had  been  during  the  first 
decade  of  the  century.  He  considered  freedom  and  political  rights 


34.  Lenora  E.  Berson,  Case  Study  of  a  Riot,  p.  30. 


Introduction  to  the  1967  Edition  xxxvii 

to  be  a  mere  sham  unless  Negroes  were  also  able  to  take  their 
rightful  place  in  the  city's  economic  life.  He  was,  for  instance, 
horrified  to  find  that  the  depressed  economic  plight  of  his  people 
pushed  them  into  close  social  relationships  with  the  most  corrupt 
elements  of  machine  politics.  Above  all  he  stressed  the  fact  that 
the  lack  of  opportunity  to  advance  by  education  or  hard  work 
corrupted  the  Negro  and  drove  him  into  the  psychological  en 
vironment  of  "excuse  and  listless  despair."  Thus  he  wrote:  "The 
humblest  white  employee  knows  that  the  better  he  does  his  work 
the  more  chance  there  is  for  him  to  rise  in  business.  The  black 
employee  knows  that  the  better  he  does  his  work  the  longer  he 
may  do  it;  he  can  not  hope  for  promotion"  ( p.  328 ) .  Aware  of  his 
own  position  in  spite  of  his  educational  qualifications,  DuBois 
saw  that  educational  attainments  of  Negroes  only  led  to  frus 
tration:  "A  graduate  of  the  University  of  Pennsylvania  in 
mechanical  engineering,  well  recommended,"  he  wrote,  "obtained 
work  in  the  city,  through  an  advertisement,  on  account  of  his 
excellent  record.  He  worked  a  few  hours  and  then  was  discharged 
because  he  was  found  to  be  colored.  He  is  now  a  waiter  at  the 
University  Club,  where  his  white  fellow  graduates  dine."  A 
graduate  in  pharmacy  applied  for  a  job  and  was  given  the 
following  answer:  "I  wouldn't  have  a  darky  to  clean  out  my  store, 
much  less  stand  behind  the  counter"  (p,  328).  Clerks  and  white- 
collar  jobs  were,  of  course,  unobtainable,  but  so  were  both  skilled 
and  unskilled  jobs  in  industry.  DuBois  noted  one  exception  to  this 
at  the  Midvale  Steel  Works,  where  the  manager,  dubbed  a 
"crank"  by  many  of  his  peers,  had  employed  some  200  Negroes 
who  worked  along  with  white  mechanics  "without  friction  or 
trouble."*  Finally,  DuBois  deplored  the  fact  that,  unlike  other 
minority  groups,  Negroes  were  rarely  found  running  their  own 
businesses.  Those  that  did  exist  were  marginal.  In  short,  the  vast 
majority  of  Negroes  in  the  city  in  DuBois'  day  were  relegated  to 
domestic  service  or  allied  personal  services  such  as  catering 
or  hotel  jobs  as  waiters,  porters,  shoe-shine  boys  (some  in 
their  fifties  and  sixties),  and  so  forth. 

As  of  the  1960's,  though  Negroes  are  surely  a  long  way  from 

Though  DuBois  did  not  mention  it,  the  "crank"  at  the  Midvale  Steel 
Works  was  Frederick  W.  Taylor,  who  eventually  became  world  famous  as 
the  "father  of  scientific  management." 


xxxviii  Introduction  to  the  1967  Edition 

obtaining  equal  opportunity  with  whites,  there  is  no  question  that 
opportunities  for  Negro  employment  in  the  city  have  improved 
greatly  since  the  1890's  when  DuBois  painted  a  dismal  picture  of 
their  plight.  Perhaps  the  first  wave  of  improvement  in  em 
ployment  opportunities  in  the  city,  as  well  as  all  over  the  nation, 
came  during  World  War  I— incidentally  a  mixed  blessing.  While, 
as  noted  above,  there  was  virtually  no  industrial  employment  of 
Negroes  in  1896,  Miss  Mossell  estimated  that  some  30,000  Negro 
laborers  were  employed  by  Philadelphia  firms  as  of  1917.  The 
Midvale  Steel  Company,  which  was  the  exception  in  1896  when  it 
employed  some  200  Negroes,  employed  some  4000  Negroes  in 
1917.  While  this  new  employment  was  a  change  for  the  better  in 
some  ways,  it  also  had  unfortunate  consequences.  "The  Pennsyl 
vania  Railroad,"  wrote  Miss  Mossell  at  the  time,  "was  the  only 
industry  which  provided  any  kind  of  housing  for  the  migrant. 
The  camps  in  which  it  lodged  him,  however,  proved  to  be  of  little 
assistance,  since  the  camps  themselves,  consisting  of  ordinary 
tents  and  box  cars,  did  not  provide  adequate  shelter."35 

The  living  conditions  of  the  Negro  migrants  were  miserable 
enough  during  the  war.  But  things  were  even  worse  when  the 
war  came  to  an  end.  Unemployment,  idleness,  racial  riots,  and 
continual  strife  marked  Negro-white  relations  during  what  Eu 
gene  P.  Foley  has  called  "the  warring  Twenties."36  In  fact,  racial 
unrest  was  continual  up  to  and  after  the  time  of  the  passage  by 
Pennsylvania  of  its  first  Civil  Rights  Act  of  1935.  Though  Negroes 
were  now  employed  in  industry,  their  inferior  position  and  pay 
was  taken  for  granted.  For  example,  the  city  went  through  the 
most  crippling  transit  strike  in  its  history  in  the  early  1940's.  The 
strike,  which  cost  the  taxpayers  more  than  $10  million,  was  due  to 
the  fact  that  white  workers  refused  to  go  back  to  their  jobs  as 
long  as  Negro  workers  were  given  equal  pay  for  equal  work.  On 
the  whole,  then,  it  can  be  said  that  Negroes  made  very  little 
headway  in  breaking  down  discrimination  in  employment 
throughout  the  1920's  and  1930's.  Employment  in  industry,  of 

35.  Mossell,  op.  cit.,  p.  7. 

36.  Eugene  P.  Foley,  "The  Negro  Businessman:  In  Search  of  a  Tradi 
tion,"  p.  573.  This  is  an  excellent  study  of  Negro  business  in  America 
and  is  most  relevant  here  because  most  of  the  empirical  data  was  taken 
from  the  Philadelphia  community. 


Introduction  to  the  1967  Edition  xxxix 

course,  picked  up  during  World  War  II,  but  real  gains  awaited 
the  postwar  period. 

The  1950's  were  definitely  years  of  increasing  opportunities 
for  Philadelphia  Negroes,  even  though  in  1960  Negroes  were 
twice  as  likely  to  be  unemployed  as  whites  ( 10  per  cent  vs.  5  per 
cent).  In  the  first  place  there  was  a  great  decline  in  the  pro 
portion  of  Negroes  engaged  in  domestic  service,*  DuBois  found 
that  88.5  per  cent  of  the  females,  and  61.5  per  cent  of  the  males  in 
the  Seventh  Ward  were  domestic  servants.  By  I960,  these  propor 
tions  had  declined  on  a  city-wide  basis  to  0.6  per  cent  of  the 
males  and  3.3  per  cent  of  the  females.37  The  big  change  came 
in  the  1950's,  when  male  domestic  service  declined  by  61.2  per 
cent,  and  female  by  29.9  per  cent,  in  the  course  of  a  single  de 
cade.  In  contrast  to  this  decline  in  the  proportion  of  Negroes  in 
these  occupations  which  stigmatized  their  inferior  position,  white- 
collar  employment  among  Philadelphia  Negroes  increased  in  a 
relatively  spectacular  fashion.  Between  1950  and  1960,  for  ex 
ample,  the  proportion  of  Negro  males  employed  as  clerical  work 
ers  increased  by  58.9  per  cent,  that  of  females  by  221.8  per  cent. 
At  the  same  time,  the  proportion  of  Negro  males  in  professional 
occupations  increased  by  45.9  per  cent,  of  females  by  90.9  per 
cent;  salesmen  increased  by  30.7  per  cent,  saleswomen  by  88.4 
per  cent. 

These  statistics  showing  the  quantitative  increase  in  the  pro 
portion  of  Negroes  in  white-collar  occupations  during  the  1950's 
reflect  unprecedented  changes  in  the  quality  of  race  relations  in 
the  center  city.  As  of  the  1930's,  for  instance,  one  rarely  saw  a 
Negro  in  the  major  downtown  department  and  clothing  stores,  in 
banks,  moving-picture  houses,  theaters,  or  other  public  places.  No 
major  department  store  or  bank  had  Negroes  in  white-collar 
positions  dealing  directly  with  the  public.  No  Negro  lawyer  could 
obtain  office  space  in  the  center  city  business  district.  Negroes  sat 
in  the  balconies  of  the  big  movie  palaces.  Hotels  and  restaurants 
were  strictly  segregated.  Most  of  these  strict  taboos  came  in 

*DuBois  was  very  concerned  about  the  low  sex  ratio  (80)  among 
Negroes  and  its  effect  on  the  family.  It  is  consequently  of  interest  that, 
in  I960,  the  sex  ratio  of  Negroes  in  the  city  had  increased  to  90,  partly 
a  reflection  of  the  decline  of  domestic  service  as  the  main  Negro  occupation. 

37.  Philadelphia's  Non-White  Population  I960,  Tables  5  and  5a. 


xl  Introduction  to  the  1967  Edition 

during  and  immediately  after  World  War  I;  all  of  them  were 
removed  in  the  decade  of  the  1950's. 

DuBois  was  particularly  interested  in  the  poor  record  of 
Negroes  as  businessmen.  In  1896,  there  were  no  more  than  300 
Negro-owned  businesses  in  the  city.  The  majority  of  them  were 
barbershops,  catering  establishments,  and  restaurants— all  ex 
tensions  of  the  servant  role.  And  most  of  them  were  marginal, 
with  the  exception  of  a  few  well-known  caterers.  There  is  a  direct 
relation,  according  to  Eugene  P.  Foley,  who  has  studied  the 
Negro  businessman  in  Philadelphia  and  elsewhere,  between  the 
ghettoization  of  the  Negro  and  the  growth  of  Negro  businesses.38 
In  fact,  among  Negroes,  as  among  whites,  immigrants  to  the  city 
seem  more  likely  to  go  into  business  for  themselves  than  older 
residents.  Thus  in  1964,  there  were  over  4000  Negro-owned  busi 
nesses  in  the  city,  most  of  them  located  within  the  boundaries  of 
the  three  Negro  ghettos.  Unfortunately,  however,  most  of  these 
businesses  were  pretty  much  of  the  same  marginal  character  as 
those  of  DuBois'  day.  Along  with  the  absence  of  responsible 
leadership  this  lack  of  success  in  business  enterprise  was  certainly 
an  important  factor  in  the  North  Philadelphia  riots  of  1964.  In  her 
study  of  the  riots,  for  example,  Lenora  E.  Berson  found  this  to  be 
true. 

The  history  of  the  Jews  and  of  North  Philadelphia  com 
bined  to  make  the  Jewish  merchants  the  major  representatives 
of  the  white  establishment  in  the  area.  But  it  was  as  whites  and 
as  merchants  and  realtors  rather  than  as  Jews  per  se  that  they 
bore  the  brunt  of  the  Negroes'  attack.  Anti-Semitism  was  not  a 
primary  factor  in  the  rioting. 

Nevertheless,  the  Jews  do  have  a  special  and  ambiguous 
position  in  the  Negro  ghetto.  In  every  large  city,  Jewish  organ 
izations  and  individuals  have  long  been  in  the  forefront  of  the 
civil  rights  campaigns.  In  Philadelphia,  two  white  board 
members  of  the  NAACP  are  Jews,  as  is  the  only  white  elected 
official  from  North  Central  Philadelphia,  State  Senator  Charles 
Weiner.  The  two  Negro-oriented  radio  stations  in  the  city  are 
owned  by  Jews.  It  is  likely  that  many,  if  not  most,  of  North 
Philadelphia's  residents  are  treated  by  Jewish  doctors,  advised 
by  Jewish  lawyers  and  served  by  Jewish  community  agencies. 


38.  Foley,  op.  cit.,  p.  569. 


Introduction  to  the  1967  Edition  xli 

But  the  landlord,  too,  is  likely  to  be  Jewish,  as  is  the  grocer 
and  the  man  who  owns  the  appliance  store  on  the  corner.  All 
too  often  the  Negro  sees  himself  as  a  victim  of  their  exploi 
tation,  and  the  contrast  between  himself  and  the  more  affluent 
businessmen  of  the  community  generates  bitterness  and  re 
sentment.39 

The  living  conditions  in  the  North  Philadelphia  ghetto  are  still 
deplorable  and  probably  getting  worse;  and  they  are  so  de 
humanizing  largely  because  of  the  moral  myopia  of  white 
residents  of  the  City  of  Brotherly  Love.  At  the  same  time,  there  is 
cause  for  hope  if  one  takes  DuBois'  position  that  the  ultimate 
salvation  of  the  Negro  community  depends  on  its  "Talented 
Tenth."  He  opened  his  famous  essay  on  the  "Talented  Tenth" 
as  follows: 

The  Negro  Race,  like  all  races,  is  going  to  be  saved  by  its 
exceptional  men.  The  problem  of  education,  then,  among 
Negroes  must  first  of  all  deal  with  the  Talented  Tenth;  it  is  the 
problem  of  developing  the  Best  of  this  race  that  may  guide  the 
Mass  away  from  the  contamination  and  death  of  the  Worst,  in 
their  own  and  other  races.40 

Opportunities  for  the  Talented  Tenth  within  the  Philadelphia 
Negro  community  have  opened  up  at  an  increasing  rate  since  the 
end  of  World  War  II.  Of  non-white  Philadelphians  aged  twenty- 
five  and  over,  for  example,  the  proportion  that  had  finished  high 
school  tripled,  the  proportion  that  had  finished  college  doubled 
between  1940  and  1960.  Furthermore,  in  contrast  to  DuBois'  day 
when  employment  for  educated  Negroes  was  almost  non-existent, 
there  are  now  more  jobs  available  for  educated  Negroes  than 
there  are  educated  Negroes  to  fill  them.  Finally,  DuBois  would 
have  been  most  gratified  that,  since  World  War  II,  talented 
Negroes  have  moved  into  elite  positions  on  the  local  bar  and 
bench,  in  business,  in  politics,  and  on  the  faculties  of  the  local 
colleges  and  universities. 

In  closing,  perhaps  the  best  way  to  gain  a  historical  perspec- 


39.  Berson,  op.  tit.,  p.  46. 

40.  W.  E.  B.  DuBois,  "The  Talented  Tenth,"  in  The  Negro  Problem 
(New  York,  1903),  p.  33. 


xlii  Introduction  to  the  1967  Edition 

tive  on  the  dramatic  changes  in  the  opportunities  that  have 
opened  for  talented  Negroes  since  DuBois'  day,  might  be  to 
speculate  how  he  himself  would  now  be  received  by  the  Univer 
sity  of  Pennsylvania.  And  certainly  there  is  no  question  that 
today,  if  a  gifted  young  Negro  with  a  recent  Ph.D.  from  Harvard, 
a  book  published  in  the  Harvard  Historical  Series,  and  two  years 
study  abroad  should  apply  for  a  position  in  the  Sociology 
Department,  he  would  be  welcomed  with  open  arms  as  an  As 
sistant  Professor  at  least,  and  at  a  salary  of  over  $10,000  a  year.  In 
fact,  he  would  hardly  need  to  apply;  for  he  would  have  been 
vigorously  recruited;  and  he  probably  would  not  even  consider 
Pennsylvania  because  of  the  great  demand  for  young  Negro 
sociologists  at  the  very  best  sociology  departments  in  the  nation. 

E.D.B. 

University  of  Pennsylvania 
June,  1967 


SUPPLEMENTARY  BIBLIOGRAPHY 

The  following  selected  bibliography  will  serve  to  bring  DuBois' 
bibliography  up  to  date. 

I.  General  Works  on  the  Negro  in  America.  If  available  in  a  paperback 
edition,  the  citation  is  followed  by  (P). 

Bardolph,  Richard.  The  Negro  Vanguard.  New  York:  Holt,  Rinehart 
&  Winston,  1959.  (P) 

Breyfogle,  William  A.  Make  Free:  The  Story  of  the  Underground 
Railroad.  Philadelphia:  Lippincott,  1958. 

Broderick,  Francis  L.  W.  E.  B.  DuBois:  Negro  Leader  in  a  Time  of 
Crisis.  Stanford,  Calif.:  Stanford  University  Press,  1959.  (P) 

Clark,  Kenneth  B.  Dark  Ghetto:  Dilemmas  of  Social  Power.  New 
York:  Harper  &  Row,  1965. 

Deutsch,  Morton,  and  Collins,  Mary  E.  Intenadal  Housing:  A  Psycho 
logical  Evaluation  of  a  Social  Experiment.  Minneapolis:  Uni 
versity  of  Minnesota  Press,  1951. 

Bollard,  John.  Caste  and  Class  in  a  Southern  Town.  New  Haven:  Yale 
University  Press,  1937.  (P) 


Introduction  to  the  1967  Edition 

Drake,  St.  Glair,  and  Cayton,  Horace  R.  Black  Metropolis:  A  Study 
of  Negro  Life  in  a  Northern  City.  New  York:  Harper  &  Row, 
1962.  (P) 

DuBois,  W.  E.  B.  The  Negro  in  Business.  Atlanta,  Ga.:  Atlanta  Uni 
versity  Press,  1899. 

.  "The  Negroes  of  Farmville,  Virginia:  A  Social  Study,"  Bul 
letin  of  the  United  States  Department  of  Labor,  III  (January, 
1898). 

.  "My  Evolving  Program  for  Negro  Freedom,"  in  Rayford  W. 

Logan,  ed.,  What  The  Negro  Wants.  Chapel  Hill;  University  of 
North  Carolina  Press,  1944.  (P) 

Elkins,  Stanley  M.  Slavery:  A  Problem  in  American  Institutional  Life. 
Chicago:  University  of  Chicago  Press,  1959.  (P) 

Foley,  Eugene  P.  "The  Negro  Businessman:  In  Search  of  a  Tradition," 
in  Talcott  Parsons  and  Kenneth  B.  Clark,  eds.,  The  Negro  Amer 
ican.  Boston:  Beacon  Press,  1965.  (P) 

Franklin,  John  Hope.  From  Slavery  to  Freedom:  A  History  of  Amer 
ican  Negroes,  2d  ed.  New  York:  Alfred  A.  Knopf,  1956. 

Frazier,  E.  Franklin.  Black  Bourgeoisie.  New  York:  Free  Press,  1957. 
(P) 

.  The  Negro  in  the  United  States,  rev.  ed.  New  York:  Mac- 

millan,  1957. 

Glazer,  Nathan,  and  Moynihan,  Donald  P.  Beyond  The  Melting  Pot: 
The  Negroes,  Puerto  Ricans,  Jews,  Italians  and  Irish  in  New 
York  City.  Cambridge,  Mass.:  M.I.T.  Press,  1963.  (P) 

Harris,  Abram  L.  The  Negro  as  Capitalist:  A  Study  of  Banking  and 
Business  Among  American  Negroes.  Philadelphia:  American 
Academy  of  Political  and  Social  Science,  1936. 

Logan,  Rayford  W.  The  Negro  in  the  United  States:  A  Brief  History. 
Princeton,  N.  J,:  Van  Nostrand,  1957.  (P) 

Lubell,  Samuel.  White  and  Black:  Test  of  a  Nation.  New  York: 
Harper  &  Row,  1964. 

McKay,  Claude.  Harlem:  Negro  Metropolis.  New  York:  E.  P.  Dutton, 
1940. 

Myrdal,  Gunnar.  An  American  Dilemma:  The  Negro  Problem  and 
Modern  Democracy.  New  York:  Harper  &  Row,  1944.  (P) 

Redding,  Saunders.  The  Lonesome  Road:  The  Story  of  the  Negro  in 
America.  New  York:  Doubleday,  1958.  (P) 

Silberman,  Charles  E.  Crisis  in  Black  and  White.  New  York:  Random 
House,  1964.  (P) 

Taeuber,  Karl  E.  and  Alma  F.  Negroes  in  Cities.  Chicago:  Aldine, 
1965. 


xliv  Introduction  to  the  1967  Edition 

Washington,  Booker  T.   Up  From  Slavery:  An  Autobiography.  New 

York:  Doubleday,  1901.   (P) 
Weaver,  Robert  C.  The  Negro  Ghetto.  New  York:  Har court,  Brace  & 

World,  1948. 
Wilson,  James  Q.  Negro  Politics:   The  Search  for  Leadership.  New 

York:  Free  Press,  1961. 
Woodward,  C.  Vann.  The  Strange  Career  of  Jim  Crow.  New  York: 

Oxford  University  Press,  1957.   (P) 

II.  Publications  Relevant  to  The  Philadelphia  Negro. 

Alexander,  Ramond  Pace.  "The  Struggle  Against  Racism  in  Philadel 
phia  from  1923  to  1948."  Speech  delivered  before  The  Business 
and  Professional  Group  of  the  American  Jewish  Congress, 
Philadelphia,  1950. 

Berson,  Lenora  E.  Case  Study  of  a  Riot:  The  Philadelphia  Story.  New 
York:  Institute  of  Human  Relations  Press,  1966. 

Drexel  Institute  of  Technology.  An  Analysis  of  Little  Businessmen  in 
Philadelphia.  Philadelphia,  1964. 

Mossell,  Sadie  Tanner.  "The  Standard  of  Living  Among  One  Hundred 
Negro  Migrant  Families  in  Philadelphia,"  The  Annals  of  the 
American  Academy  of  Social  and  Political  Science,  XCVIII,  1921. 

City  of  Philadelphia,  Commission  on  Human  Relations.  Philadelphia's 
Non-White  Population  1960.  Report  No.  1,  Demographic  Data; 
Report  No.  2,  Housing  Data;  Report  No.  3,  Socioeconomic  Data. 

.  General  Socio-Economic  Characteristics  and  Trends,  Phila 
delphia  and  Environs.  Public  Information  Bulletin  8-C,  April, 
1963. 

The  Philadelphia  Colored  Directory.  Philadelphia  Colored  Directory 
Co*.,  1907. 

Population  of  Philadelphia  Sections  and  Wards:  1860-1960.  Phila 
delphia  City  Planning  Commission,  1963. 

Scott,  Emmett  J.  Negro  Migration  During  The  War.,  New  York: 
Oxford  University  Press,  1920. 


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[Taken  from  publications  of  the  American  Academy,  No.  150,  fitly  2,  r8g$. 
The  large  figures  refer  to  voting  precincts.} 


1 1  #A**Y3J*K^ 


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— - — I    I  I    r^^v^>       I  , 


THE  PHILADELPHIA  NEGRO. 


CHAPTER  I. 

THE   SCOPE   OF  THIS   STUDY. 

1.  General  Aim. — This  study  seeks  to  present  the  results 
of  an  inquiry  undertaken  by  the  University  of  Pennsylvania 
into  the  condition  of  the  forty  thousand  or  more  people  of 
Negro  blood  now  living  in  the  city  of  Philadelphia.    This 
inquiry  extended  over  a  period  of  fifteen  months  and  sought 
to  ascertain  something  of  the  geographical  distribution  of 
this  race,  their  occupations  and  daily  life,  their  homes,  their 
organizations,  and,  above  all,  their  relation  to  their  million 
white  fellow-citizens.     The  final  design  of  the  work  is  to 
lay  before  the  public  such  a  body  of  information  as  may  be 
a  safe  guide  for  all  efforts  toward  the  solution  of  the  many 
Negro  problems  of  a  great  American  city. 

2.  The  Methods  of  Inquiry. — The  investigation  began 
August  the  first,  1896,  and,  saving  two  months,  continued 
until   December  the   thirty-first,    189.7.     The  work   com 
menced   with  a   house-to-house    canvass  of  the    Seventh 
Ward.     This   long   narrow  ward,  extending   from  South 
Seventh  street  to  the  Schuylkill  River  and  from  Spruce 
street  to  South  street,  is  an  historic  centre  of  Negro  popu 
lation,  and  contains  to-day  a  fifth  of  all  the  Negroes  in 
this  city.1      It  was  therefore   thought  best   to   make    an 


1 1  shall  throughout  this  study  use  the  term  "  Negro,"  to  designate  all 
persons  of  Negro  descent,  although  the  appellation  is  to  some  extent 
illogical.  I  shall,  moreover,  capitalize  the  word,  because  I  believe  that 
eight  million  Americans  are  entitled  to  a  capital  letter. 

(i) 


2  The  Scope  of  This  Study.  [Chap.  L 

intensive  study  of  conditions  in  this  district,  and  afterward 
to  supplement  and  correct  this  information  by  general 
observation  and  inquiry  in  other  parts  of  the  city. 

Six  schedules  were  used  among  the  nine  thousand 
Negroes  of  this  ward  ;  a  family  schedule  with  the  usual 
questions  as  to  the  mimber  of  members,  their  age  and  sex, 
their  conjugal  condition  and  birthplace,  their  ability  to 
read  and  write,  their  occupation  and  earnings,  etc. ;  an 
individual  schedule  with  similar  inquiries ;  a  home 
schedule  with  questions  as  to  the  number  of  rooms,  the 
rent,  the  lodgers,  the  conveniences,  etc.  ;  a  street  schedule 
to  collect  data  as  to  the  various  small  streets  and  alleys, 
and  an  institution  schedule  for  organizations  and  institu 
tions  ;  finally  a  slight  variation  of  the  individual  schedule 
was  used  for  house-servants  living  at  their  places  of  employ 
ment.  2 

This  study  of  the  central  district  of  Negro  settlement 
furnished  a  key  txxthe  situation  in  the  city  ;  in  the  other 
wards  therefore  a  general  survey  was  taken  to  note  any 
striking  differences  of  condition,  to  ascertain  the  general 
distribution  of  these  people,  and  to  collect  information  and 
statistics  as  to  organizations,  property,  crime  and  pauperism, 
political  activity,  and  the  like.  This  general  inquiry,  while 
it  lacked  precise  methods  of  measurement  in  most  cases, 
served  nevertheless  to  correct  the  errors  and  illustrate  the 
meaning  of  the  statistical  material  obtained  in  the  house- 
to-house  canvass. 

Throughout  the  study  such  official  statistics  and  histori 
cal  matter  as  seemed  reliable  were  used,  and  experienced 
persons,  both  white  and  colored,  were  freely  consulted. 

3.  The  Credibility  of  the  Results. — The  best  available 
methods  of  sociological  research  are  at  present  so  liable  to 
inaccuracies  that  the  careful  student  discloses  the  results 
of  individual  research  with  diffidence  ;  he  knows  that  they 
are  liable  to  error  from  the  seemingly  ineradicable  faults  of 

2  See  Appendix  A  for  form  of  schedules  used. 


Sect,  3.]  The  Credibility  of  the  Results.  3 

the  statistical  method,  to  even  greater  error  from  the 
methods  of  general  observation,  and,  above  all,  he  must 
ever  tremble  lest  some  personal  bias,  some  moral  conviction 
or  some  unconscious  trend  of  thought  due  to  previous 
training,  has  to  a  degree  distorted  the  picture  in  his  view. 
Convictions  on  all  great  matters  of  human  interest  one 
must  have  to  a  greater  or  less  degree,  and  they  will  enter 
to  some  extent  into  the  most  cold-blooded  scientific  research 
as  a  disturbing  factor. 

Nevertheless  here  are  social  problems  before  us  demand 
ing  careful  study,  questions  awaiting  satisfactory  answers. 
We  must  study,  we  must  investigate,  we  must  attempt  to 
solve  ;  and  the  utmost  that  the  world  can  demand  is,  not 
lack  of  human  interest  and  moral  conviction,  but  rather 
the  heart-quality  of  fairness,  and  an  earnest  desire  for  the 
truth  despite  its  possible  unpleasantness. 

In  a  house-to-house  investigation  there  are,  outside  the 
attitude  of  the  investigator,  many  sources  of  error :  mis 
apprehension,  vagueness  and  forgetfulness,  and  deliberate 
deception  on  the  part  of  the  persons  questioned,  greatly 
vitiate  the  value  of  the  answers  ;  on  the  other  hand,  con 
clusions  formed  by  the  best  trained  and  most  conscientious 
students  on  the  basis  of  general  observation  and  inquiry- 
are  really  inductions  from  but  a  few  of  the  multitudinous 
facts  of  social  life,  and  these  may  easily  fall  far  short  of 
being  essential  or  typical. 

The  use  of  both  of  these  methods  which  has  been 
attempted  in  this  study  may  perhaps  have  corrected  to 
some  extent  the  errors  of  each.  Again,  whatever  personal 
equation  is  to  be  allowed  for  in  the  whole  study  is  one 
unvarying  quantity,  since  the  work  was  done  by  one  inves 
tigator,  and  the  varying  judgments  of  a  score  of  census- 
takers  was  thus  avoided.3 


3  The  appended  study  of  domestic  service  was  done  by  Miss  Isabel 
Eaton,  Fellow  of  the  College  Settlements  Association.  Outside  of  this 
the-  work  was  done  by  the  one  investigator. 


4  The  Scope  of  This  Study.  [Chap.  I. 

Despite  all  drawbacks  and  difficulties,  however,  the 
main  results  of  the  inquiry  seem  credible.  They  agree,  to 
a  large  extent,  with  general  public  opinion,  and  in  other 
respects  they  seem  either  logically  explicable  or  in  accord 
with  historical  precedents.  They  are  therefore  presented 
to  the  public,  not  as  complete  and  without  error,  but  as 
possessing  on  the  whole  enough  reliable  matter  to  serve  as 
the  scientific  basis  of  further  study,  and  of  practical  reform. 


CHAPTER  II. 

THE  PROBLEM. 

4.  The  Negro  Problems  of  Philadelphia. — In  Phila 
delphia,  as  elsewhere  in  the  United  States,  the  existence  of 
certain  peculiar  social  problems  affecting  the  Negro  people 
are  plainly  manifest.  Here  is  a  large  group  of  people — 
perhaps  forty-five  thousand,  a  city  within  a  city — who  do 
not  form  an  integral  part  of  the  larger  social  group.  This 
in  itself  is  not  altogether  unusual ;  there  are  other  unassim- 
ilated  groups :  Jews,  Italians,  even  Americans ;  and  yet 
in  the  case  of  the  Negroes  the  segregation  is  more  con 
spicuous,  more  patent  to  the  eye,  and  so  intertwined  with 
a  long  historic  evolution,  with  peculiarly  pressing  social 
problems  of  poverty,  ignorance,  crime  and  labor,  that  the 
Negro  problem  far  surpasses  in  scientific  interest  and  social 
gravity  most  of  the  other  race  or  class  questions. 

The  student  of  these  questions  must  first  ask,  What  is 
the  real  condition  of  this  group  of  human  beings  ?  Of 
whom  is  it  composed,  what  sub-groups  and  classes  exist, 
what  sort  of  individuals  are  being  considered  ? Further,  the 
student  must  clearly  recognize  that  a  complete  study  must 
not  confine  itself  to  the  group,  but  must  specially  notice 
the  environment ;  the  physical  environment  of  city,  sec 
tions  and  houses,  the  far  mightier  social  environment — the 
surrounding  world  of  custom,  wish,  whim,  and  thought 
which  envelops  this  group  and  powerfully  influences  its 
social  development. 

Nor  does  the  clear  recognition  of  the  field  of  investiga 
tion  simplify  the  work  of  actual  study  ;  it  rather  increases 
it,  by  revealing  lines  of  inquiry  far  broader  in  scope  than 
first  thought  suggests.  To  the  average  Philaclelphian  the 

(5) 


6  The  Problem.  [Chap.  II. 

whole  Negro  question  reduces  itself  to  a  study  of  certain 
slum  districts.  His  mind  reverts  to  Seventh  and  Lombard 
streets  and  to  Twelfth  and  Kater  streets  of  to-day,  or  to 
St.  Mary's  in  the  past.  Continued  and  widely  known 
charitable  work  in  these  sections  makes  the  problem  of 
poverty  familiar  to  him ;  bold  and  daring  crime  too  often 
traced  to  these  centres  has  called  his  attention  to  a  prob 
lem  of  crime,  while  the  scores  of  loafers,  idlers  and  pros 
titutes  who  crowd  the  sidewalks  here  night  and  day 
remind  him  of  a  problem  of  work. 

All  this  is  true — all  these  problems  are  there  and  of 
threatening  intricacy  ;  unfortunately,  however,  the  interest 
of  the  ordinary  man  of  affairs  is  apt  to  stop  here.  Crime, 
poverty  and  idleness  affect  his  interests  unfavorably  and 
he  would  have  them  stopped  ;  he  looks  upon  these  slums 
and  slum  characters  as  unpleasant  things  which  should  in 
some  way  be  removed  for  the  best  interests  of  all.  The 
social  student  agrees  with  him  so  far,  but  must  point  out 
that  the  removal  of  unpleasant  features  from  our  compli 
cated  modern  life  is  a  delicate  operation  requiring  know 
ledge  and  skill ;  that  a  slum  is  not  a  simple  fact,  it  is  a 
symptom  and  that  to  know  the  removable  causes  of  the 
Negro  slums  of  Philadelphia  requires  a  study  that  takes 
one  far  beyond  the  slum  districts.  For  few  Philadelphians 
realize  how  the  Negro  population  has  grown  and  spread. 
There  was  a  time  in  the  memory  of  living  men  when  a 
small  district  near  Sixth  and  Lombard  streets  compre 
hended  the  great  mass  of  the  Negro  population  of  the 
city.  This  is  no  longer  so.  Very  early  the  stream  of  the 
black  population  started  northward,  but  the  increased 
foreign  immigration  of  1830  and  later  turned  it  back. 
It  started  south  also  but  was  checked  by  poor  houses  and 
worse  police  protection.  Finally  with  gathered  momen 
tum  the  emigration  from  the  slums  started  west,  rolling  on 
slowly  and  surely,  taking  Lombard  street  as  its  main 
thoroughfare,  gaining  early  foothold  in  West  Philadelphia, 


Sect.  4.]       The  Negro  Problems  of  Philadelphia.  j 

and  turning  at  the  Schuylkill  River  north  and  south  to 
the  newer  portions  of  the  city. 

Thus  to-day  the  Negroes  are  scattered  in  every  ward  of 
the  city,  and  the  great  mass  of  them  live  far  from  the  whilom 
centre  of  colored  settlement.  What,  then,  of  this  great 
mass  of  the  population?  Manifestly  they  form  a  class 
with  social  problems  of  their  own — the  problems  of  the 
Thirtieth  Ward  differ  from  the  problems  of  the  Fifth,  as 
the  black  inhabitants  differ.  In  the  former  ward  we  have 
represented  the  rank  and  file  of  Negro  working-people ; 
laborers  and  servants,  porters  and  waiters.  This  is  at  pres 
ent  the  great  middle  class  of  Negroes  feeding  the  slums 
on  the  one  hand  and  the  upper  class  on  the  other.  Here 
are  social  questions  and  conditions  which  must  receive  the 
most  careful  attention  and  patient  interpretation. 

Not  even  here,  however,  can  the  social  investigator  stop. 
He  knows  that  every  group  has  its  upper  class  ;  it  may  be 
numerically  small  and  socially  of  little  weight,  and  yet  its 
study  is  necessary  to  the  comprehension  of  the  whole — it 
forms  the  realized  ideal  of  the  group,  and  as  it  is  true  that 
a  nation  must  to  some  extent  be  measured  by  its  slums,  it 
is  also  true  that  it  can  only  be  understood  and  finally  judged 
by  its  upper  class. 

The  best  class  of  Philadelphia  Negroes,  though  some 
times  forgotten  or  ignored  in  discussing  the  Negro  prob 
lems,  is  nevertheless  known  to  many  Philadelphians. 
Scattered  throughout  the  better  parts  of  the  Seventh 
Ward,  and  on  Twelfth,  lower  Seventeenth  and  Nineteenth 
streets,  and  here  and  there  in  the  residence  wards  of  the 
northern,  southern,  and  western  sections  of  the  city  is  a  class 
of  caterers,  clerks,  teachers,  professional  men,  small  mer 
chants,  etc.,  who  constitute  the  aristocracy  of  the  Negroes. 
Many  are  well-to-do,  some  are  wealthy,  all  are  fairly  edu 
cated,  and  some  liberally  trained.  Here  too  are  social 
problems — differing  from  those  of  the  other  classes,  and 
differing  too  from  those  of  the  whites  of  a  corresponding 


8  The  Problem.  [Chap.  II. 

grade,  because  of  the  peculiar  social  environment  in  which 
the  whole  race  finds  itself,  which  the  whole  race  feels,  but 
which  touches  this  highest  class  at  most  points  and  tells 
upon  them  most  decisively. 

Many  are  the  misapprehensions  and  misstatements  as  to 
the  social  environment  of  Negroes  in  a  great  Northern  city. 
Sometimes  it  is  said,  here  they  are  free ;  they  have  the 
same  chance  as  the  Irishman,  the  Italian,  or  the  Swede ;  at 
other  times  it  is  said,  the  environment  is  such  that  it  is 
really  more  oppressive  than  the  situation  in  Southern  cities. 
The  student  must  ignore  both  of  these  extreme  statements 
and  seek  to  extract  from  a  complicated  mass  of  facts  the 
tangible  evidence  of  a  social  atmosphere  surrounding 
Negroes,  which  differs  from  that  surrounding  most  whites  ; 
of  a  different  mental  attitude,  moral  standard,  and  economic 
judgment  shown  toward  Negroes  than  toward  most  other 
folk.  That  such  a  difference  exists  and  can  now  and  then 
plainly  be  seen,  few  deny  ;  but  just  how  far  it  goes  and 
how  large  a  factor  it  is  in  the  Negro  problems,  nothing  but 
careful  study  and  measurement  can  reveal. 

Such  then  are  the  phenomena  of  social  condition  and 
environment  which  this  study  proposes  to  describe,  analyze, 
and,  so  far  as  possible,  interpret. 

5.  Plan  of  Presentment. — The  study  as  taken  up  here 
divides  itself  roughly  into  four  parts  :  the  history  of  the 
Negro  people  in  the  city,  their  present  condition  considered 
as  individuals,  their  condition  as  an  organized  social  group, 
and  their  physical  and  social  environment.  To  the  history 
of  the  Negro  but  two  chapters  are  devoted — a  brief  sketch 
— although  the  subject  is  worthy  of  more  extended  study 
than  the  character  of  this  essay  permitted. 

Six  chapters  consider  the  general  condition  of  the 
Negroes;  their  number,  age  and  sex,  conjugal  condition, 
and  birthplace;  what  degree  of  education  they  have 
obtained,  and  how  they  earn  a  living.  All  these  subjects 
are  treated  usually  for  the  Seventh  Ward  somewhat 


Sect.  5.]  Plan  of  Presentment.  9 

minutely,  then  more  generally  for  the  city,  and  finally  such 
historical  material  is  adduced  as  is  available  for  com 
parison. 

Three  chapters  are  devoted  to  the  group  life  of  the 
Negro  ;  this  includes  a  study  of  the  family,  of  property,  and 
of  organizations  of  all  sorts.  It  also  takes  up  such  phe 
nomena  of  social  maladjustment  and  individual  depravity 
as  crime,  pauperism  and  alcoholism. 

One  chapter  is  devoted  to  the  difficult  question  of  en 
vironment,  both  physical  and  social,  one  to  certain  results 
of  the  contact  of  the  white  and  black  races,  one  to  Negro 
suffrage,  and  a  word  of  general  advice  in  the  line  of  social 
reform  is  added. 


CHAPTER  III. 

THE   NEGRO   IN    PHILADELPHIA,    1638-1820. 

6.  General  Survey. — Few  States  present  better  oppor 
tunities  for  the  continuous  study  of  a  group  of  Negroes 
than  Pennsylvania.  The  Negroes  were  brought  here  early, 
were  held  as  slaves  along  with  many  white  serfs.  They 
became  the  subjects  of  a  protracted  abolition  controversy, 
and  were  finally  emancipated  by  gradual  process.  Al  though > 
for  the  most  part,  in  a  low  and  degraded  condition,  and 
thrown  upon  their  own  resources  in  competition  with  white 
labor,  they  were  nevertheless  so  inspired  by  their  new  free 
dom  and  so  guided  by  able  leaders  that  for  something  like 
forty  years  they  made  commendable  progress.  Meantime, 
however,  the  immigration  of  foreign  laborers  began,  the 
new  economic  era  of  manufacturing  was  manifest  in  the 
land,  and  a  national  movement  for  the  abolition  of  slavery 
had  its  inception.  The  lack  of  skilled  Negro  laborers  for 
the  factories,  the  continual  stream  of  Southern  fugitives 
and  rural  freedmen  into  the  city,  the  intense  race  antipathy 
of  the  Irish  and  others,  together  with  intensified  prejudice 
of  whites  who  did  not  approve  of  agitation  against  slavery 
— all  this  served  to  check  the  development  of  the  Negro, 
to  increase  crime  and  pauperism,  and  at  one  period  resulted 
in  riot,  violence,  and  bloodshed,  which  drove  many  Negroes 
from  the  city. 

Economic  adjustment  and  the  enforcement  of  law  finally 
allayed  this  excitement,  and  another  period  of  material 
prosperity  and  advance  among  the  Negroes  followed.  Then 
came  the  inpouring  of  the  ne^  ""y  emancipated  blacks  from 
the  South  and  the  economic  struggle  of  the  artisans  to  main 
tain  wages,  which  brought  on  a  crisis  in  the  city,  manifested 
again  by  idleness,  crime  and  pauperism. 

(10) 


Sect.  7.]       Transplanting  of  the  Negro,  1638-1760.         n 

Thus  we  see  that  twice  the  Philadelphia  Negro  has,  with 
a  fair  measure  of  success,  begun  an  interesting  social  devel 
opment,  and  twice  through  the  migration  of  barbarians  a 
dark  age  has  settled  on  his  age  of  revival.  These  same 
phenomena  would  have  marked  the  advance  of  many  other 
elements  of  our  population  if  they  had  been  as  definitely 
isolated  into  one  indivisible  group.  No  differences  of  social 
condition  allowed  any  Negro  to  escape  from  the  group, 
although  such  escape  was  continually  the  rule  among  Irish, 
Germans,  and  other  whites. 

7.  The  Transplanting  of  the  Negro,  1638-1760. — The 
Dutch,  and  possibly  the  Swedes,  had  already  planted 
slavery  on  the  Delaware  when  Penn  and  the  Quakers 
arrived  in  i682.1  One  of  Penn's  first  acts  was  tacitly  to 
recognize  the  serfdom  of  Negroes  by  a  provision  of  the 
Free  Society  of  Traders  that  they  should  serve  fourteen 
years  and  then  become  serfs — a  provision  which  he  himself 
and  all  the  others  soon  violated.2 

Certain  German  settlers  who  came  soon  after  Penn,  and 
who  may  or  may  not  have  been  active  members  of  the 
Society  of  Friends,  protested  sturdily  against  slavery  in 
1688,  but  the  Quakers  found  the  matter  too  "  weighty."3 
Five  years  later  the  radical  seceders  under  Kieth  made  the 
existence  of  slavery  a  part  of  their  attack  on  the  society. 
Nevertheless  the  institution  of  slavery  in  the  colony  con 
tinued  to  grow,  and  the  number  of  blacks  in  Philadelphia 
so  increased  that  as  early  as  1693  we  find  an  order  of  the 


1  Cf.  Scharf-Wcstcott's  " History  of  Philadelphia,"  I,  65,  76.  DuBois' 
"  Slave  Trade/'  p.  24. 

2 Hazard's  "Annals,"  553.  Thomas'  "Attitude  of  Friends  Toward 
Slavery,"  266. 

3  There  is  some  controversy  as  to  whether  these  Germans  were  actually 
Friends  or  not;  the  weight  of  testimony  seems  to  be  that  they  were. 
See,  however,  Thomas  as  above,  p.  267,  and  Appendix.  "  Pennsylvania 
Magazine,"  IV,  28-31  r  The  Critic,  August  27,  1897.  DuBois'  "Slave 
Trade,"  p.  20,  203.  For  copy  of  protest,  see  published  fac-simile  and 
Appendix  of  Thomas.  For  further  proceedings  of  Quakers,  see  Thomas 
and  DuBois,  passim. 


12  Negro  in  Philadelphia,  1638-1820.     [Chap.  III. 

Council  against  the  "tumultuous  gatherings  of  the  negroes 
of  the  towne  of  Philadelphia,  on  the  first  dayes  of  the 
weeke."4 

In  1696  the  Friends  began  a  cautious  dealing  with  the 
subject,  which  in  the  course  of  a  century  led  to  the  abolition 
of  slavery.  This  growth  of  moral  sentiment  was  slow  but 
unwaveringly  progressive,  and  far  in  advance  of  contem 
porary  thought  in  civilized  lands.  At  first  the  Friends 
sought  merely  to  regulate  slavery  in  a  general  way  and 
prevent  its  undue  growth.  They  therefore  suggested  in 
the  Yearly  Meeting  of  1696,  and  for  some  time  thereafter, 
that  since  traders  "  have  flocked  in  amongst  us  and  .  .  . 
increased  and  multiplied  negroes  amongst  us,"  members 
ought  not  to  encourage  the  further  importation  of  slaves, 
as  there  were  enough  for  all  purposes.  In  1711  a  more 
active  discouragement  of  the  slave  trade  was  suggested, 
and  in  1716  the  Yearly  Meeting  intimated  that  even  the 
buying  of  imported  slaves  might  not  be  the  best  policy, 
although  the  Meeting  hastened  to  call  this  u  caution,  not 
censure." 

By  1719  the  Meeting  was  certain  that  their  members 
ought  not  to  engage  in  the  slave  trade,  and  in  1730  they 
declared  the  buying  of  slaves  imported  by  others  to  be 
"  disagreeable.''  At  this  milestone  they  lingered  thirty 
years  for  breath  and  courage,  for  the  Meeting  had  evidently 
distanced  many  of  its  more  conservative  members.  In 
1743  the  question  of  importing  slaves,  or  buying  imported 
slaves,  was  made  a  disciplinary  query,  and  in  1754, 
spurred  by  the  crusade  of  Say,  Woolman  and  Benezet, 
offending  members  were  disciplined.  In  the  important 
gathering  of  1758  the  same  golden  rule  was  laid  down  as 
that  with  which  the  Germans,  seventy  years  previous,  had 
taunted  them,  and  the  institution  of  slavery  was  categor 
ically  condemned/  Here  they  rested  until  1775,  when, 

*  "  Colonial  Records,"  I,  $80-81. 

5  Thomas,  276;  Whittier  Intro,  to  Woolman,  16. 


Sect  7.]      Transplanting  of  the  Negro,  1638-1760.          13 

after  a  struggle  of  eighty-seven  years,  they  decreed  the 
exclusion  of  slaveholders  from  fellowship  in  the  Society. 

While  in  the  councils  of  the  State  Church  the  freedom 
of  Negroes  was  thus  evolving,  the  legal  status  of  Negroes 
of  Pennsylvania  was  being  laid.  Four  bills  were  intro 
duced  in  1700:  one  regulating  slave  marriages  was  lost; 
the  other  three  were  passed,  but  the  Act  for  the  Trial  of 
Negroes — a  harsh  measure  providing  death,  castration  and 
whipping  for  punishments,  and  forbidding  the  meeting 
together  of  more  than  four  Negroes — was  afterward  disal 
lowed  by  the  Queen  in  Council.  The  remaining  acts 
became  laws,  and  provided  for  a  small  duty  on  imported 
slaves  and  the  regulation  of  trade  with  slaves  and  ser 
vants.6 

In  1706  another  act  for  the  trial  of  Negroes  was  passed 
and  allowed.  It  differed  but  slightly  from  the  Act  of  1700  ; 
it  provided  that  Negroes  should  be  tried  for  crimes  by  two 
justices  of  the  peace  and  a  jury  of  six  freeholders ;  rob 
bery  and  rape  were  punished  by  branding  and  exportation^ 
homicide  by  death,  and  stealing  by  whipping  ;7  the  meeting 
of  Negroes  without  permission  was  prohibited.  Between 
this  time  and  1760  statutes  were  passed  regulating  the  sale 
of  liquor  to  slaves  and  the  use  of  firearms  by  them  ;  and 
also  the  general  regulative  Act  of  1726,  ufor  the  Better 
Regulation  of  Negroes  in  this  Province."  This  act  was 
especially  for  the  punishment  of  crime,  the  suppression  of 
pauperism,  the  prevention  of  intermarriage,  and  the  like — 
that  is,  for  regulating  the  social  and  economic  status  of 
Negroes,  free  and  enslaved.8 

Meantime  the  number  of  Negroes  in  the  colony  con 
tinued  to  increase;  by  1720  there  were  between  2500  and 
5000  Negroes  in  Pennsylvania ;  they  rapidly  increased 
until  there  were  a  large  number  by  1750 — some  say  11,000 

*See  Appendix  B. 

7 ' '  Statutes-at-Large, ' '  Ch.  143,  8Si .    See  Appendix  B. 

8 "  Statutes-at-Large,M  III,  pp.  250,  254;  IV,  59  ff.    See  Appendix  B. 


14  Negro  in  Philadelphia,  j6jS-/S2O.    [Chap.  III. 

or  more — when  they  decreased  by  war  and  sale,  so  that  the 
census  of  1790  found  10,274  in  the  State.9 

The  slave  duties  form  a  pretty  good  indication  of  the 
increase  of  Negro  population.10  The  duty  in  1700  was 
from  6^.  to  zos.  This  was  increased,  and  in  1712,  owing 
to  the  large  importations  and  the  turbulent  actions  of 
Negroes  in  neighboring  States,  a  prohibitive  duty  of  ^20 
was  laid.11  England,  however,  who  was  on  the  eve  of 
signing  the  Assiento  with  Spain,  soon  disallowed  this  act 
and  the  duty  was  reduced  to  ^5.  The  influx  of  Negroes 
after  the  English  had  signed  the  huge  slave  contract 
with  Spain  was  so  large  that  the  Act  of  1726  laid  a  restrict 
ive  duty  of  ;£io.  For  reasons  not  apparent,  but  possibly 
connected  with  fluctuations  in  the  value  of  the  currency, 
this  duty  was  reduced  to  £2  in  1729,  and  seems  to  have 
remained  at  that  figure  until  1761. 

The  ^10  duty  was  restored  in  1761,  and  probably  helped 
much  to  prevent  importation,  especially  when  we  remem 
ber  the  work  of  the  Quakers  at  this  period.  In  1773  a 
prohibitive  duty  of  ^20  was  laid,  and  the  Act  of  1780 
finally  prohibited  importation.  After  1760  it  is  probable 
that  the  efforts  of  the  Quakers  to  get  rid  of  their  slaves 
made  the  export  slave  trade  much  larger  than  the 
importation. 

Very  early  in  the  history  of  the  colony  the  presence  of 
unpaid  slaves  for  life  greatly  disturbed  the  economic  con 
dition  of  free  laborers.  While  most  of  the  white  laborers 
were  indentured  servants  the  competition  was  not  so  much 
felt ;  when  they  became  free  laborers,  however,  and  were 
joined  by  other  laborers,  the  cry  against  slave  competition 
was  soon  raised.  The  particular  grievance  was  the  hiring 
out  of  slave  mechanics  by  masters ;  in  1708  the  free 
white  mechanics  protested  to  the  Legislature  against  this 

'DuBois*  "  Slave  Trade/'  p.  23,  note,    XJ.  S.  Census. 

10  See  Appendix  B.    Cf.  DuBois'  <*  Slave  Trade,"  passim. 

11  PuBois*  " Slave  Trade,"  p.  206. 


Sect.  8.]  Emancipation,  1760-1780. 

custom,12  and  this  was  one  of  the  causes  of  the  Act  of 
in  all  probability.  When  by  1722  the  number  of  slaves  had 
further  increased,  the  whites  again  protested  against  the 
"  employment  of  blacks,"  apparently  including  both  free 
and  slave.  The  Legislature  endorsed  this  protest  and 
declared  that  the  custom  of  employing  black  laborers  and 
mechanics  was  "  dangerous  and  injurious  to  the  repub 
lic."  13  Consequently  the  Act  of  1726  declared  the  hiring 
of  their  time  by  Negro  slaves  to  be  illegal,  and  sought  to 
restrict  emancipation  on  the  ground  that  "  free  negroes 
are  an  idle  and  slothful  people,"  and  easily  become  public 
burdens.14 

As  to  the  condition  of  the  Negroes  themselves  we  catch 
only  glimpses  here  and  there.  Considering  the  times,  the 
system  of  slavery  was  not  harsh  and  the  slaves  received 
fair  attention.  There  appears,  however,  to  have  been 
much  trouble  with  them  on  account  of  stealing,  some 
drunkenness  and  general  disorder.  The  preamble  of  the 
Act  of  1726  declares  that  "it  too  often  happens  that 
Negroes  commit  felonies  and  other  heinous  crimes,"  and 
that  much  pauperism  arises  from  emancipation.  This  act 
facilitated  punishment  of  such  crimes  by  providing  indem 
nification  for  a  master  if  his  slave  suffered  capital  punish 
ment.  They  were  declared  to  be  often  "  tumultuous  "  in 
1693,  to  be  found  "cursing,  gaming,  swearing,  and  com 
mitting  many  other  disorders  "  in  1732  ;  in  1738  and  1741 
they  were  also  called  "disorderly  n  in  city  ordinances.15 

In  general,  we  see  among  the  slaves  at  this  time  the  low 
condition  of  morals  which  we  should  expect  in  a  barbar 
ous  people  forced  to  labor  in  a  strange  land. 

8.  Emancipation,  1760-1780. — The  years  1750-1760 
mark  the  culmination  of  the  slave  system  in  Pennsylvania 

I'Scharf-Westcott's  " History  of  Philadelphia,"  I,  200. 
*s  Watson's  ''Annals,"  (Ed.  1850)  I,  98. 
u  See  Appendix  B. 
*Cf,  Chapter  XIII. 


1 6  Negro  in  Philadelphia,  1638-1820.    [Chap.  III. 

and  the  beginning  of  its  decline.  By  that  time  most 
shrewd  observers  saw  that  the  institution  was  an  economic 
failure,  and  were  consequently  more  disposed  than  formerly 
to  listen  to  the  earnest  representations  of  the  great  anti- 
slavery  agitators  of  that  period.  There  were,  to  be  sure, 
strong  vested  interests  still  to  be  fought.  When  the  /io 
duty  act  of  1761  was  pending,  the  slave  merchants  of  the 
city,  including  many  respectable  names,  vigorously  pro 
tested  ;  "  ever  desirous  to  extend  the  Trade  of  this  Prov 
ince,"  they  declared  that  they  had  "  seen  for  some  time 
past  the  many  inconveniencys  the  Inhabitants  have  suffered 
for  want  of  Labourers  and  Artificers,"  and  had  conse 
quently  ufor  some  time  encouraged  the  importation  of 
Negroes."  They  prayed  at  the  very  least  for  delay  in 
passing  this  restrictive  measure.  After  debate  and  alterca 
tion  with  the  governor  the  measure  finally  passed,  indi 
cating  renewed  strength  and  determination  on  the  part  of 
the  abolition  party.16 

Meantime  voluntary  emancipation  increased.  Sandiford 
emancipated  his  slaves  in  1733,  and  there  were  by  1790  in 
Philadelphia  about  one  thousand  black  freedmen.  A  school 
for  these  and  others  was  started  in  1770  at  the  instance  of 
Benezet,  and  had  at  first  twenty-two  children  in  attend 
ance.17  The  war  brought  a  broader  and  kindlier  feeling 
toward  the  Negroes ;  before  its  end  the  Quakers  had 
ordered  manumission,18  and  several  attempts  were  made  to 
prohibit  slavery  by  statute.  Finally,  in  1780,  the  Act  for 
the  Gradual  Abolition  of  Slavery  was  passed.19  This  act> 
beginning  with  a  strong  condemnation  of  slavery,  pro 
vided  that  no  child  thereafter  born  in  Pennsylvania  should 
be  a  slave.  The  children  of  slaves  born  after  1780  were  to 
be  bond-servants  until  twenty-eight  years  of  age — that  is. 


""Colonial  Records,"  VIII,  576;  DuBois'  ''Slave  Trade/'  p.  23. 
"Cf.  Pamphlet:  "Sketch  of  the  Schools  for  Blacks/'  also  Chapter  VIII. 
•I8Cf,  Thomas'  "Attitude  of  Friends,"  etc.,  p.  272. 
i* Dallas'  "Laws,"  I,  838,  Ch,  881;  DuBois'  " Slave  Trade,"  p,  225. 


Sect.  9.]    The  Rise  of  the  Freedman,  1780-1820.  17 

"beginning  with  the  year  1808  there  was  to  be  a  series  of 
emancipations.  Side  by  side  with  this  growth  of  emanci 
pation  sentiment  went  an  increase  in  the  custom  of  hiring 
out  Negro  slaves  and  servants,  which  increased  the  old 
competition  with  the  whites.  The  slaves  were  owned  in 
small  lots,  especially  in  Philadelphia,  one  or  two  to  a 
family,  and  were  used  either  as  house  servants  or  artisans. 
As  a  result  they  were  encouraged  to  learn  trades  and  seem 
to  have  had  the  larger  share  of  the  ordinary  trades  of  the 
city  in  their  hands.  Many  of  the  slaves  in  the  better 
families  became  well-known  characters — as  Alice,  who  for 
forty  years  took  the  tolls  at  Dunk's  Ferry  ;  Virgil  Warder, 
who  once  belonged  to  Thomas  Penn,  and  Robert  Venable, 
a  man  of  some  intelligence.20 

9.  The  Rise  of  the  Freedman,  1780-1820. — A  careful 
study  of  the  process  and  effect  of  emancipation  in  the 
different  States  of  the  Union  would  throw  much  light  on 
our  national  experiment  and  its  ensuing  problems.  Espe 
cially  is  this  true  of  the  experiment  in  Pennsylvania ;  to 
be  sure,  emancipation  here  was  gradual  and  the  number 
emancipated  small  in  comparison  with  the  population,  and 
yet  the  main  facts  are  similar:  the  freeing  of  ignorant 
slaves  and  giving  them  a  chance,  almost  unaided  from 
without,  to  make  a  way  in  the  world.  The  first  result  was 
widespread  poverty  and  idleness.  This  was  followed,  as 
the  number  of  freedmen  increased,  by  a  rush  to  the  city. 
Between  1790  and  1800  the  Negro  population  of  Philadel 
phia  County  increased  from  2489  to  6880,  or  176  per  cent, 
against  an  increase  of  43  per  cent  among  the  whites.  The 
first  result  of  this  contact  with  city  life  was  to  stimulate 
the  talented  and  aspiring  freedmen;  and  this  was  the 
easier  because  the  freedman  had  in  Philadelphia  at  that 
time  a  secure  economic  foothold ;  he  performed  all  kinds 
of  domestic  service,  all  common  labor  and  much  of  the 
skilled  labor.  The  group  being  thus  secure  in  its  daily 

*> Cf.  Watson's  "Annals"  (Ed.  1850),  I,  557,  101-103,  601,  602,  515. 


1 8  Negro  in  Philadelphia,  1638-1820.  [Chap.  III. 

bread  needed  only  leadership  to  make  some  advance  in 
general  culture  and  social  effectiveness.  Some  sporadic 
cases  of  talent  occur,  as  Derham,  the  Negro  physician, 
whom  Dr.  Benjamin  Rush,  in  1788,  found  "very  learned"21 
Especially,  however,  to  be  noted  are  Richard  Allen,22  a 
former  slave  of  the  Chew  family,  and  Absalom  Jones,23  a 
Delaware  Negro.  These  two  were  real  leaders  and  actually 
succeeded  to  a  remarkable  degree  in  organizing  the  freed- 
men  for  group  action.  Both  had  bought  their  own  freedom 
and  that  of  their  families  by  hiring  their  time — Allen 
being  a  blacksmith  by  trade,  and  Jones  also  having  a  trade. 
When,  in  1792,  the  terrible  epidemic  drove  Philadelphians 
away  so  quickly  that  many  did  not  remain  to  bury  the 
dead,  Jones  and  Allen  quietly  took  the  work  in  hand, 
spending  some  of  their  own  funds  and  doing  so  well  that 
they  were  publicly  commended  by  Mayor  Clarkson  in 

I794-24 

The  great  work  of  these  men,  however,  lay  among  their 

own  race  and  arose  from  religious  difficulties.  As  in  other 
colonies,  the  process  by  which  the  Negro  slaves  learned  the 
English  tongue  and  were  converted  to  Christianity  is  not 
clear.  The  subject  of  the  moral  instruction  of  slaves  had 
early  troubled  Penn  and  he  had  urged  Friends  to  provide 
meetings  for  them.25  The  newly  organized  Methodists  soon 
attracted  a  number  of  the  more  intelligent,  though  the 

81  The  American  Museum,  1789,  pp,  61-62. 

22  For  life  of  Allen,  see  his  "  Autobiography,"  and  Payne's  "  History 
of  the  A.  M.  E.  Church." 

28  For  life  of  Jones,  see  Douglass'  "Episcopal  Church  of  St.  Thomas.'* 

24  The  testimonial  was  dated  January  23,  1794,  and  was  as  follows: 
"  Having,  during  the  prevalence  of  the  late  malignant  disorder,  had 
almost  daily  opportunities  of  seeing  the  conduct  of  Absalom  Jones  and 
Richard  Allen,  and  the  people  employed  by  them  to  bury  the  dead,  I, 
with  cheerfulness  give  this  testimony  of  my  approbation  of  their  pro 
ceedings  as  far  as  the  same  came  under  my  notice.  Their  diligence, 
attention  and  decency  of  deportment,  afforded  me  at  the  time  much 
satisfaction.  WIWMAM  CLARKSON,  Mayor." 

From  Douglass'  "St.  Thomas'  Church. " 

35  See  Thomas,  p.  266. 


Sect  9.]     The  Rise  of  the  Freedmany  1780—1820*  19 

masses  seem  at  the  end  of  the  last  century  not  to  have  been 
church-goers  or  Christians  to  any  considerable  extent.  The 
small  number  that  went  to  church  were  wont  to  worship  at 
St.  George's,  Fourth  and  Vine  ;  for  years  both  free  Negroes 
and  slaves  worshiped  here  and  were  made  welcome. 
Soon,  however,  the  church  began  to  be  alarmed  at  the 
increase  in  its  black  communicants  which  the  immigration 
from  the  country  was  bringing,  and  attempted  to  force 
them  into  the  gallery.  The  crisis  came  one  Sunday 
morning  during  prayer  when  Jones  and  Allen,  with  a 
crowd  of  followers,  refused  to  worship  except  in  their 
accustomed  places,  and  finally  left  the  church  in  a  body.26 
This  band  immediately  met  together  and  on  April  12, 
1787,  formed  a  curious  sort  of  ethical  and  beneficial  brother 
hood  called  the  Free  African  Society.  How  great  a  step 
this  was,  we  of  to-day  scarcely  realize ;  we  must  remind 
ourselves  that  it  was  the  first  wavering  step  of  a  people 
toward  organized  social  life.  This  society  was  more  than 
a  mere  club  :  Jones  and  Allen  were  its  leaders  and  recog 
nized  chief  officers ;  a  certain  parental  discipline  was 
exercised  over  its  members  and  mutual  financial  aid  given. 
The  preamble  of  the  articles  of  association  says  :  "  Where 
as,  Absalom  Jones  and  Richard  Allen,  two  men  of  the 
African  Race,  who  for  their  religious  life  and  conversation, 
have  obtained  a  good  report  among  men,  these  persons 
from  a  love  to  the  people  of  their  own  complexion  whom 
they  beheld  with  sorrow,  because  of  their  irreligious  and 
uncivilized  state,  often  communed  together  upon  this  pain 
ful  and  important  subject  in  order  to  form  some  kind  of 
religious  body  ;  but  there  being  too  few  to  be  found  under 
the  like  concern,  and  those  who  were,  differed  in  their 
religious  sentiments  ;  with  these  circumstances  they  labored 
for  some  time,  till  it  was  proposed  after  a  serious  commu 
nication  of  sentiments  that  a  society  should  be  formed 
without  regard  to  religious  tenets,  provided  the  persons 

Allen's  "Autobiography,"  and  Douglass*  "St.  Thomas!" 


20  Negro  in  Philadelphia^  1638-1820.    [Chap.  III. 

lived  an  orderly  and  sober  life,  in  order  to  support  one 
another  in  sickness,  and  for  the  benefit  of  their  widows 
and  fatherless  children.''27 

The  society  met  first  at  private  houses,  then  at  the 
Friends'  Negro  school  house.  For  a  time  they  leaned 
toward  Quakerism;  each  month  three  monitors  were 
appointed  to  have  oversight  over  the  members ;  loose 
marriage  customs  were  attacked  by  condemning  cohabita 
tion,  expelling  offenders  and  providing  a  simple  Quaker- 
like  marriage  ceremony.  A  fifteen-minute  pause  for  silent 
prayer  opened  the  meetings.  As  the  representative  body 
of  the  free  Negroes  of  the  city,  this  society  opened  com 
munication  with  free  Negroes  in  Boston,  Newport  and 
other  places.  The  Negro  Union  of  Newport,  R.  L,  pro 
posed  in  1788  a  general  exodus  to  Africa,  but  the  Free 
African  Society  soberly  replied:  "  With  regard  to  the 
emigration  to  Africa  you  mention  we  have  at  present  but 
little  to  communicate  on  that  head,  apprehending  every 
pious  man  is  a  good  citizen  of  the  whole  world."  The 
society  co-operated  with  the  Abolition  Society  in  studying 
the  condition  of  the  free  blacks  in  1790.  At  all  times  they 
seem  to  have  taken  good  care  of  their  sick  and  dead  and 
helped  the  widows  and  orphans  to  some  extent  Their 
methods  of  relief  were  simple:  they  agreed  "for  the 
benefit  of  each  other  to  advance  one-shilling  in  silver 
Pennsylvania  currency  a  month  ;  and  after  one  year's  sub 
scription,  from  the  dole  hereof  then  to  hand  forth  to  the 
needy  of  the  Society  if  any  should  require,  the  sum  of 
three  shillings  and  nine  pence  per  week  of  the  said  money  ; 
provided  the  necessity  is  not  brought  on  them  by  their 
own  imprudence.1'  In  1790  the  society  had  ^42  9^.  id. 
on  deposit  in  the  Bank  of  North  America,  and  had  applied 
for  a  grant  of  the  Potter's  Field  to  be  set  aside  as  a  burial 
ground  for  them,  in  a  petition  signed  by  Dr.  Rush,  Tench 
Coxe  and  others. 

"Douglass'  "St.  Thomas'" 


Sect.  9.]     The  Rise  of  the  Freedman,  i?8o~i82o.  21 

It  was,  however,  becoming  clearer  and  clearer  to  the 
leaders  that  only  a  strong  religious  bond  could  keep  this 
untrained  group  together.  They  would  probably  have 
become  a  sort  of  institutional  church  at  first  if  the  question 
of  religious  denomination  had  been  settled  among  them ; 
but  it  had  not  been,  and  for  about  six  years  the  question 
was  still  pending.  The  tentative  experiment  in  Quakerism 
had  failed,  being  ill  suited  to  the  low  condition  of  the  rank 
and  file  of  the  society.  Both  Jones  and  Allen  believed  that 
Methodism  was  best  suited  to  the  needs  of  the  Negro,  but 
the  majority  of  the  society,  still  nursing  the  memory  of  St. 
George's,  inclined  toward  the  Episcopal  church.  Here  came 
the  parting  of  the  ways :  Jones  was  a  slow  introspective 
man,  with  a  thirst  for  knowledge,  with  high  aspirations  for 
his  people;  Allen  was  a  shrewd,  quick,  popular  leader, 
positive  and  dogged  and  yet  far-seeing  in  his  knowledge  of 
Negro  character.  Jones  therefore  acquiesced  in  the  judg 
ment  of  the  majority,  served  and  led  them  conscientiously 
and  worthily,  and  eventually  became  the  first  Negro  rector 
in  the  Episcopal  church  of  America.  About  1790  Allen 
and  a  few  followers  withdrew  from  the  Free  African 
Society,  formed  an  independent  Methodist  church  which 
first  worshiped  in  his  blacksmith's  shop  on  Sixth  near 
Lombard.  Eventually  this  leader  became  the  founder  and 
first  bishop  of  the  African  Methodist  Episcopal  Church  of 
America — an  organization  which  now  has  500,000  mem 
bers,  and  is  by  long  odds  the  vastest  and  most  remarkable 
product  of  American  Negro  civilization.28 

Jones  and  the  Free  African  Society  took  immediate  steps 
to  secure  a  church  ;  a  lot  was  bought  at  the  corner  of  Fifth 
and  Adelphi  streets  in  February,  1792,  and  by  strenuous 
effort  a  church  was  erected  and  dedicated  on  the  seventeenth 


28  There  is  on  the  part  of  the  A.  M.  B.  Church  a  disposition  to  ignore 
Allen's  withdrawal  from  the  Free  African  Society,  and  to  date  the  A.  M. 
B.  Church  from  the  founding  of  that  society,  making  it  older  than  St. 
Thomas.  This,  however,  is  contrary  to  Allen's  own  statement  in  his 
"  Autobiography. "  The  point,  however,  is  of  little  real  consequence. 


22  Negro  in  Philadelphia^  1638-1820.   [Chap.  III. 

of  July,  1794.  This  was  the  first  Negro  church  in  America, 
and  known  as  the  First  African  Church  of  St.  Thomas  ;  in 
the  vestibule  of  the  church  was  written  :  "The  people  that 
walked  in  darkness  have  seen  a  great  light"  Bethel 
Church  was  erected  by  Allen  and  his  followers  in  1796,  the 
same  year  that  a  similar  movement  in  New  York  estab 
lished  the  Zion  Methodist  Church.  In  1794,  too,  the 
Methodists  of  St.  George's,  viewing  with  some  chagrin  the 
widespread  withdrawal  of  Negroes  from  their  body,  estab 
lished  a  mission  at  Camperdown,  in  the  northeastern  part 
of  the  city,  which  eventually  became  the  present  Zoar 
Church. 

The  general  outlook  for  the  Negroes  at  this  period  was 
encouraging,  notwithstanding  the  low  condition  of  the 
masses  of  the  race.  In  1788  Pennsylvania  amended  the 
Act  of  1780,  so  as  to  prevent  the  internal  and  foreign  slave 
trade,  and  correct  kidnapping  and  other  abuses  that  had 
arisen.  *  The  convention  which  adopted  the  Constitution  of 
1790  had,  in  spite  of  opposition  in  the  convention,  refused 
to  insert  the  word  "  white  "  in  the  qualifications  for  voters, 
and  thus  gave  the  right  of  suffrage  to  free  Negro  property 
holders  ;  a  right  which  they  held,  and,  in  most  counties  of 
the  State,  exercised  until  1837. 3<)  The  general  conference 
of  Abolition  Societies,  held  in  Philadelphia  in  1794,  started 
an  agitation  which,  when  reinforced  by  the  news  of  the 
Haytian  revolt,  resulted  in  the  national  statute  of  1794,  for 
bidding  the  export  slave  trade. 8l  In  1799  and  1800  Absalom 
Jones  led  the  Negroes  to  address  a  petition  to  the  Legisla 
ture,  praying  for  immediate  abolition  of  slavery,  and  to 
Congress  against  the  fugitive  slave  law,  and  asking  pros 
pective  emancipation  for  all  Negroes.  This  latter  petition 
was  presented  by  Congressman  Wain,  and  created  an  uproar 

» Carey  &  Bioren,  Ch.  394.     DuBois*  '*  Slave  Trade,"  p.  231. 
30 The  constitution,  as  reported,  had  the  word  "white,**  but  this  was 
struck  out  at  the  instance  of  Gallatin.     Cf.  Ch.  XVII. 
»  Cf.  DuBois'  "Slave  Trade, "  Chapter  VII. 


Sect.  9.]     The  Rise  of  the  Freedman,  1780-1820.  23 

in  the  House  of  Representatives ;  it  was  charged  that 
the  petition  was  instigated  by  the  Haytian  revolutionists 
and  finally  the  Negroes  were  censured  for  certain  parts  of 
the  petition.  sa 

The  condition  of  the  Negroes  of  the  city  in  the  last 
decade  of  the  eighteenth  and  the  first  two  decades  of  the 
nineteenth  century,  although  without  doubt  bad,  slowly 
improved ;  an  insurance  society,  in  1796,  took  the  benefi 
cial  features  of  the  old  Free  African  Society.  Some  small 
essays  were  made  in  business,  mostly  in  small  street  stands, 
near  the  wharves  ;  and  many  were  in  the  trades  of  all  kinds. 
Between  1800  and  1810  the  city  Negro  population  con 
tinued  to  increase,  so  that  at  the  latter  date  there  were 
100,688  whites  and  10,522  blacks  in  the  city,  the  Negroes 
thus  forming  the  largest  per  cent  of  the  population  of  the 
city  that  they  have  ever  attained.  The  free  Negroes  also 
began  to  increase  from  the  effect  of  the  abolition  law. 
The  school  established  in  1770  continued,  and  was  endowed 
by  bequests  from  whites  and  Negroes.  It  had  414  pupils 
by  1813.  In  this  same  year  there  were  six  Negro  churches 
and  eleven  benevolent  societies.  When  the  war  broke  out 
many  Philadelphia  Negroes  were  engaged  on  land  and  sea. 
Among  these  was  James  Forten — a  fine  character,  expres 
sive  of  the  best  Negro  development  of  the  time.  Born  in 
1766,  and  educated  by  Benezet,  he  "  was  a  gentleman  by 
nature,  easy  in  manner  and  able  in  intercourse ;  popular  as 
a  man  of  trade  or  gentleman  of  the  pave,  and  well  received 
by  the  gentry  of  lighter  shade."  M  For  years  he  conducted 
a  sail-making  trade,  employing  both  whites  and  Negroes. 
In  1814  he,  Jones,  Allen  and  others  were  asked,  in  the 
midst  of  the  alarm  felt  at  the  approach  of  the  British,  to 
raise  colored  troops.  A  meeting  was  called  and  2500 
volunteers  secured,  or  three-fourths  of  the  adult  male 


**  "  Annals  of  Congress,"  6  Cong.,  ISess.,  pp.  229-45.    DuBois'  "Slave 
Trade, "  pp.  81-83. 
88  Quoted  by  W.  C.  Bolivar  in  Philadelphia  Tribune. 


24  Negro  in  Philadelphia^  1638-1820*   [Chap.  III. 

population ;  they  marched  to  Gray's  Ferry  and  threw  up 
fortifications.  A  battalion  for  service  in  the  field  was 
formed,  but  the  war  closed  before  they  reached  the  front. 3* 

The  Negroes  at  this  time  held  about  $250,000  of  city 
property,  and  on  the  whole  showed  great  progress  since 
1780.  At  the  same  time  there  were  many  evidences  of  the 
effects  of  slavery.  The  first  set  of  men  emancipated  by 
law  were  freed  in  1808,  and  probably  many  entitled  to  free 
dom  were  held  longer  than  the  law  allowed  or  sold  out  of 
the  State.  As  late  as  1794  some  Quakers  still  held  slaves, 
and  the  papers  of  the  day  commonly  contain  such  adver 
tisements,  as  : 

"  To  be  Sold  for  want  of  Employ,  For  a  term  of  years,  a 
smart  active  Negro  boy,  fifteen  years  of  age.  Enquire  at 
Robert  McGee's  board  yard,  Vine  street  wharf."35 

^Delany's  "Colored  People/'  p.  74. 

35Dunlap's  American  Daily  Advertiser,  July  4,  1791.  William  White 
had  a  large  commission-house  on  the  wharves  about  this  time.  Con 
siderable  praise  is  given  the  Insurance  Society  of  1796  for  its  good  man 
agement.  Cf.  "History  of  the  Insurance  Companies  of  North  America. '  '  In 
1817  the  first  convention  of  Free  Negroes  was  held  here,  through  the 
efforts  of  Jones  and  Forten. 


CHAPTER  IV. 

THE   NKG-RO   IN   PHILADELPHIA,  1830-1896. 

10.  Fugitives  and  Foreigners,  1820-1840. — Five  social 
developments  made  the  decades  from  1820  to  1840  critical 
for  the  nation  and  for  the  Philadelphia  Negroes  ;  first,  the 
impulse  of  the  industrial  revolution  of  the  nineteenth  cen 
tury  ;  second,  the  reaction  and  recovery  succeeding  the  War 
of  1812  ;  third,  the  rapid  increase  of  foreign  immigration ; 
fourth,  the  increase  of  free  Negroes  and  fugitive  slaves, 
especially  in  Philadelphia  ;  fifth,  the  rise  of  the  Abolitionists 
and  the  slavery  controversy. 

Philadelphia  was  the  natural  gateway  between  the  North 
and  the  South,  and  for  a  long  time  there  passed  through  it 
a  stream  of  free  Negroes  and  fugitive  slaves  toward  the 
North,  and  of  recaptured  Negroes  and  kidnapped  colored 
persons  toward  the  South.  By  1820  the  northward  stream 
increased,  occasioning  bitterness  on  the  part  of  the  South, 
and  leading  to  the  Fugitive  Slave  Act  of  1820,  and  the 
counter  acts  of  Pennsylvania  in  1826  and  1827.*  During 
this  time  new  installments  of  Pennsylvania  freedmen,  and 
especially  their  children,  began  to  flock  to  Philadelphia. 
At  the  same  time  the  stream  of  foreign  immigration  to  this 
country  began  to  swell,  and  by  1830  aggregated  half  a 
million  souls  annually.  The  result  of  these  movements 
proved  disastrous  to  the  Philadelphia  Negro ;  the  better 
classes  of  them — the  Joneses,  Aliens  and  For  tens — could  not 
escape  into  the  mass  of  white  population  and  leave  the  new 

1  These  laws  were  especially  directed  against  kidnapping,  and  were 
designed  to  protect  free  Negroes.  See  Appendix  B.  The  law  of  1826 
was  declared  unconstitutional  in  1842  by  the  U.  S.  Supreme  Court.  See 
1 6  Peters,  500  ff. 

(25) 


26  Negro  in  Philadelphia,  1820-1896.    [Chap.  IV. 

Negroes  to  fight  out  their  battles  with  the  foreigners.  No 
distinction  was  drawn  between  Negroes,  least  of  all  by  the 
new  Southern  families  who  now  made  Philadelphia  their 
home  and  were  not  unnaturally  stirred  to  unreasoning 
prejudice  by  the  slavery  agitation. 

To  this  was  added  a  fierce  economic  struggle,  a  renewal 
of  the  fight  of  the  eighteenth  century  against  Negro  work 
men.  The  new  industries  attracted  the  Irish,  Germans 
and  other  immigrants  ;  Americans,  too,  were  flocking  to 
the  city,  and  soon  to  natural  race  antipathies  was  added  a 
determined  effort  to  displace  Negro  labor — an  effort  which 
had  the  aroused  prejudice  of  many  of  the  better  classes, 
and  the  poor  quality  of  the  new  black  immigrants  to  give 
it  aid  and  comfort.  To  all  this  was  soon  added  a  problem 
of  crime  and  poverty.  Numerous  complaints  of  petty 
thefts,  house-breaking,  and  assaults  on  peaceable  citizens 
were  traced  to  certain  classes  of  Negroes.  In  vain  did  the 
better  class,  led  by  men  like  Forten,  protest  by  public 
meetings  their  condemnation  of  such  crime  2;the  tide  had 
set  against  the  Negro  strongly,  and  the  whole  period  from 
1820  to  1840  became  a  time  of  retrogression  for  the  mass 
of  the  race,  and  of  discountenance  and  repression  from  the 
whites. 

By  1830  the  black  population  of  the  city  and  districts 
had  increased  to  15,654,  an  increase  of  27  per  cent  for  the 
decade  1820  to  1830,  and  of  48  per  cent  since  1810.  Never 
theless,  the  growth  of  the  city  had  far  outstripped  this  ;  by 
1830  the  county  had  nearly  175,000  whites,  among  whom 
was  a  rapidly  increasing  contingent  of  5000  foreigners.  So 
intense  was  the  race  antipathy  among  the  lower  classes, 
anJ  so  much  countenance  did  it  receive  from  the  middle 
and  upper  class,  that  there  began,  in  1829,  a  series  of 
riots  directed  chiefly  against  Negroes,  which  recurred  fre 
quently  until  about  1840,  and  did  not  wholly  cease  until 

2  A  meeting  of  Negroes    held  in   1822,   at   the  A.   M,   £.   Church, 
denounced  crime  and  Negro  criminals. 


Sect.  10.]      Fugitives  and  Foreigners,  1820—1840.  27 

after  the  war.  These  riots  were  occasioned  by  various 
incidents,  but  the  underlying  cause  was  the  same  :  the  simul 
taneous  influx  of  freedmen,  fugitives  and  foreigners  into 
a  large  city,  and  the  resulting  prejudice,  lawlessness,  crime 
and  poverty.  The  agitation  of  the  Abolitionists  was  the 
match  that  lighted  this  fuel.  In  June  and  July,  1829,  Mrs. 
Fanny  Wright  Darusmont,  a  Scotch  woman,  gave  a  num 
ber  of  addresses  in  Philadelphia,  in  which  she  boldly 
advocated  the  emancipation  of  the  Negroes  and  something 
very  like  social  equality  of  the  races.  This  created  great 
excitement  throughout  the  city,  and  late  in  the  fall  the  first 
riot  against  the  Negroes  broke  out,  occasioned  by  some 
personal  quarrel.3 

The  legislature  had  proposed  to  stop  the  further  influx 
of  Southern  Negroes  by  making  free  Negroes  carry  passes 
and  excluding  all  others  ;  the  arrival  of  fugitives  from  the 
Southampton  massacre  was  the  occasion  of  this  attempt, 
and  it  was  with  difficulty  that  the  friends  of  the  Negro  pre 
vented  its  passage.4  Quakers  hastened  to  advise  against 
the  sending  of  fugitives  to  the  State,  "  as  the  effects  of  such 
a  measure  would  probably  be  disastrous  to  the  peace  and 
comfort  of  the  whole  colored  population  of  Pennsylvania. " 
Edward  Settle  declared  in  1832  :  "The  public  mind  here 
is  more  aroused  even  among  respectable  persons  than  it 
has  been  for  several  years,"  and  he  feared  that  the  laws  of 
1826  and  1827  would  be  repealed,  "thus  leaving  kidnap 
pers  free  scope  for  their  nefarious  labors."5 

In  1833  a  demonstration  took  place  against  the  Aboli 
tionists,  and  in  1834  serious  riots  occurred.  One  night  in 
August  a  crowd  of  several  hundred  boys  and  men,  armed 

8 Scharf- Westcott's  "History  of  Philadelphia,"  I,  824.  There  was  at 
this  time  much  lawlessness  in  the  city  which  had  no  connection  with  the 
presence  of  Negroes,  and  which  led  to  rioting  and  disorder  in  general. 
Cf.  Price's  "  History  of  Consolidation." 

*  Southampton  was  the  scene  of  the  celebrated  Nat  Turner  insurrection 
of  Negroes. 

6  Letter  to  Nathan  Mendelhall,  of  North  Carolina. 


28  Negro  in  Philadelphia,  1820-1896.    [Chap.  IV. 

with  clubs,  inarched  down  Seventh  street  to  the  Pennsyl 
vania  Hospital.  They  were  joined  by  others,  and  all  pro 
ceeded  to  some  places  of  amusement  where  many  Negroes 
were  congregated,  on  South  street,  near  Eighth.  Here  the 
rioting  began,  and  four  or  five  hundred  people  engaged  in  a 
free  street  fight.  Buildings  were  torn  down  and  inmates 
assaulted  on  Bedford  and  St.  Mary  streets  and  neighbor 
ing  alleys,  until  at  last  the  policemen  and  constables  suc 
ceeded  in  quieting  the  tumult.  The  respite,  however,  was 
but  temporary.  The  very  next  night  the  mob  assembled 
again  at  Seventh  and  Bainbridge ;  they  first  wrecked  a 
Negro  church  and  a  neighboring  house,  then  attacked 
some  twenty  Negro  dwellings  ;  "  great  excesses  are  repre 
sented  as  having  been  committed  by  the  mob,  and  one  or 
two  scenes  of  a  most  revolting  character  are  said  to  have 
taken  place."  That  the  riots  occurred  by  prearranged 
plan  was  shown  by  the  signals — lights  in  windows — by 
which  the  houses  of  the  whites  were  distinguished  and 
those  of  the  Negroes  attacked  and  their  inmates  assaulted 
and  beaten.  Several  persons  were  severely  injured  in  this 
night's  work  and  one  Negro  killed,  before  the  mayor  and 
authorities  dispersed  the  rioters. 

The  next  night  the  mob  again  assembled  in  another 
part  of  the  city  and  tore  down  another  Negro  church.  By 
this  time  the  Negroes  began  to  gather  for  self-defence,  and 
abottt  one  hundred  of  them  barricaded  themselves  in  a 
building  on  Seventh  street,  below  Lombard,  where  a  howl 
ing  mob  of  whites  soon  collected.  The  mayor  induced 
the  Negroes  to  withdraw,  and  the  riot  ended.  In  this  three 
days'  uprising  thirty-one  houses  and  two  churches  were 
destroyed  and  Stephen  James  "  an  honest,  industrious 
colored  man  "  killed.6 

The  town  meeting  of  September  15  condemned  the  riots 
and  voted  to  reimburse  the  sufferers,  but  also  took  occasion 
to  condemn  the  impeding  of  justice  by  Negroes  when  any 

e Hazard's  "Register,"  XIV,   126-28,  20x3-203. 


Sect.  10.]     Fugitives  and  Foreigners,  1820—1840,  29 

of  their  number  was  arrested,  and  also  the  noise  made  in 
Negro  churches.  The  fires  smouldered  for  about  a  year, 
but  burst  forth  again  on  the  occasion  of  the  murder  of  his 
master  by  a  Cuban  slave,  Juan.  The  lower  classes  were 
aroused  and  a  mob  quickly  assembled  at  the  corners  of 
Sixth  and  Seventh  and  Lombard  streets,  and  began  the 
work  of  destruction  and  assault,  until  finally  it  ended  by 
setting  fire  to  a  row  of  houses  on  Eighth  street,  and  fight 
ing  off  the  firemen.  The  following  night  the  mob  met  again 
and  attacked  a  house  on  St.  Mary  street,  where  an  armed 
body  of  Negroes  had  barricaded  themselves.  The  mayor 
and  recorder  finally  arrived  here  and  after  severely  lectur 
ing  the  Negroes  (!)  induced  them  to  depart.  The  whole 
of  the  afternoon  of  that  day  black  women  and  children 
fled  from  the  city.7 

Three  years  now  passed  without  serious  disturbance, 
although  the  lawless  elements  which  had  gained  such  a 
foothold  were  still  troublesome.  In  1838  two  murders 
were  committed  by  Negroes — one  of  whom  was  acknowl 
edged  to  be  a  lunatic.  At  the  burial  of  this  one's  victim, 
rioting  again  began,  the  mob  assembling  on  Passyunk 
avenue  and  Fifth  street  and  marching  up  Fifth.  The 
same  scenes  were  re-enacted  but  finally  the  mob  was 
broken  up.8  Later  the  same  year,  on  the  dedication  of 
Pennsylvania  Hall,  which  was  designed  to  be  a  centre  of 
anti-slavery  agitation,  the  mob,  encouraged  by  the  refusal 
of  the  mayor  to  furnish  adequate  police  protection,  burned 
the  hall  to  the  ground  and  the  next  night  burned  the 
Shelter  for  Colored  Orphans  at  Thirteenth  and  Callowhill 
streets,  and  damaged  Bethel  Church,  on  Sixth  street.9 

The  last  riot  of  this  series  took  place  in  1842  when  a 
mob  devastated  the  district  between  Fifth  and  Eighth 


''Ibid.,  XVI,  35-38. 

8  Scharf-Westcott's  "  Philadelphia,*'  I,  654-55. 

9 Price,  "History  of  Consolidation,"  etc.,  Ch.  VII.  The  county 
eventually  paid  $22,658.27,  with  interest  and  costs,  for  the  destruction  of 
the  hall. 


30  Negro  in  Philadelphia,  1820-1896.    [Chap.  IV. 

streets,  near  Lombard  street,  assaulted  and  beat  Negroes 
and  looted  their  homes,  burned  down  a  Negro  hall  and  a 
church ;  the  following  day  the  rioting  extended  to  the  sec 
tion  between  South  and  Fitzwater  streets  and  was  finally 
quelled  by  calling  out  the  militia  with  artillery.10 

While  these  riots  were  taking  place  a  successful  effort 
was  made  to  deprive  free  Negroes  of  the  right  of  suffrage 
which  they  had  enjoyed  nearly  fifty  years.  In  1836  a  case 
came  before  the  court  of  a  Negro  who  had  been  denied 
the  right  of  voting.  The  court  decided  in  a  peculiar  de 
cision  that  free  Negroes  were  not  u  freemen  "  in  the  lan 
guage  of  the  constitution  and,  therefore  that  Negroes  could 
not  vote.11  The  reform  convention  settled  the  matter  by 
inserting  the  word  "white"  in  the  qualifications  for 
election  in  the  Constitution  of  1837. l2  The  Negroes  pro 
tested  earnestly  by  meetings  and  appeals.  "  We  appeal  to 
you  n  said  they,  "  from  the  decision  of  the  (  Reform  Con 
vention,'  which  has  stripped  us  of  a  right  peaceably 
enjoyed  during  forty-seven  years  under  the  constitution  of 
this  commonwealth.  We  honor  Pennsylvania  and  her 
noble  institutions  too  much  to  part  with  our  birthright,  as 
her  free  citizens,  without  a  struggle.  To  all  her  citizens 
the  right  of  suffrage  is  valuable  in  proportion  as  she  is  free; 
but  surely  there  are  none  who  can  so  ill  afford  to  spare  it 
as  ourselves. "  Nevertheless  the  right  was  lost,  for  the 
appeal  fell  on  deaf  ears.13 

A  curious  comment  on  human  nature  is  this  change  of 
public  opinion  in  Philadelphia  between  1790  and  1837. 
No  one  thing  explains  it — it  arose  from  a  combination  of 
circumstances.  If,  as  in  1790,  the  new  freedmen  had  been 
given  peace  and  quiet  and  abundant  work  to  develop 
sensible  and  aspiring  leaders,  the  end  would  have  been 


10  Scharf-Westcott,  I,  660-61. 

"  Case  of  Fogg  vs.  Hobbs,  6  Watts,  553~56o.    See  Chapter  XII. 

12  See  Chapter  XII  and  Appendix  B. 

13  Appeal  of  40,000  citizens,  etc.,  Philadelphia,  1838.     Written  chiefly 
by  the  late  Robert  Purvis,  son-in-law  of  James  Forten. 


Sect.  10.]      Fugitives  and  Foreigners  1820—1840.  31 

different;  but  a  mass  of  poverty-stricken,  ignorant  fugitives 
and  ill-trained  freedmen  had  rushed  to  the  city,  swarmed  in 
the  vile  slums  which  the  rapidly  growing  city  furnished, 
and  met  in  social  and  economic  competition  equally  ignor 
ant  but  more  vigorous  foreigners.  These  foreigners  outbid 
them  at  work,  beat  them  on  the  streets,  and  were  enabled 
to  do  this  by  the  prejudice  which  Negro  crime  and  the 
anti-slavery  sentiment  had  aroused  in  the  city. 

Notwithstanding  this  the  better  class  of  Negroes  never 
gave  up.  Their  school  increased  in  attendance;  their 
churches  and  benevolent  societies  increased  ;  they  held 
public  meetings  of  protest  and  sympathy.  And  twice,  in 
1831  and  1833,  there  assembled  in  the  city  a  general  con 
vention  of  the  free  Negroes  of  the  country,  representing 
five  to  eight  States,  which,  among  other  things,  sought  to 
interest  philanthropists  of  the  city  in  the  establishment  of 
a  Negro  industrial  school.14  When  the  Legislature  showed 
a  disposition  in  1832  to  curtail  the  liberties  of  Negroes, 
the  Negroes  held  a  mass  meeting  and  memorialized  the 
lawmaking  body  and  endeavored  to  show  that  all  Negroes 
were  not  criminals  and  paupers ;  they  declared  that  while 
the  Negroes  formed  eight  per  cent  of  the  population  they 
furnished  but  four  per  cent  of  the  paupers  ;  that  by  actually 
produced  tax  receipts  they  could  show  that  Negroes  held 
at  least  $350,000  of  taxable  property  in  the  city.  More 
over,  they  said,"  Notwithstanding  the  difficulty  of  getting 
places  for  our  sons  to  learn  mechanical  trades,  owing  to  the 
prejudices  with  which  we  have  to  contend,  there  are 
between  four  and  five  hundred  people  of  color  who  follow 
mechanical  employments."15  In  1837  the  census  of  the 
Abolition  Society  claimed  for  the  Negroes  1724  children  in 
school,  $309,626  of  unencumbered  property,  16  churches 
and  100  benevolent  societies. 


14 See  Minutes  of  Conventions;  the  school  was  to  be  situated  in  New 
Haven,  but  the  New  Haven  authorities,  by  town  meeting,  protested  so 
vehemently  that  the  project  had  to  be  given  up.  Cf.  also  Hazard,  V,  143. 

15  Hazard's  "  Register,"  IX,  361-62. 


33  Negro  in  Philadelphia,  1820-1896.    [Chap.  IV. 

ii.  The  Guild  of  the  Caterers,  1840-1870. — The  outlook 
for  the  Negro  in  Philadelphia  about  1840  was  not  encour 
aging.  The  last  of  the  first  series  of  riots  took  place  in 
1843,  and  has  been  mentioned.  The  authorities  were 
wakened  to  their  duty  by  this  last  outbreak  of  barbarism, 
and  for  several  years  the  spirit  of  lawlessness,  which  now 
extended  far  beyond  the  race  question  and  seriously  threat 
ened  the  good  name  of  the  city,  was  kept  within  control. 
However,  in  1849,  a  mob  set  upon  a  mulatto  who  had  a 
white  wife,  at  the  corner  of  Sixth  street  and  St.  Mary's, 
and  there  ensued  a  pitched  battle  for  a  night  and  a  day ; 
firemen  fought  with  firemen  ;  the  blacks,  goaded  to  desper 
ation,  fought  furiously ;  houses  were  burned  and  firearms 
used,  with  the  result  that  three  white  men  and  one  Negro 
were  killed  and  twenty-five  wounded  persons  taken  to  the 
hospital.  The  militia  was  twice  called  before  the  disturb 
ance  was  quelled.  These  riots  and  the  tide  of  prejudice 
and  economic  proscription  drove  so  many  Negroes  from 
the  city  that  the  black  population  actually  showed  a 
decrease  in  the  decade  1840-50.  Worse  than  this,  the  good 
name  of  the  Negroes  in  the  city  had  been  lost  through  the 
increased  crime  and  the  undeniably  frightful  condition 
of  the  Negro  slums.  The  foreign  element  gained  all 
the  new  employments  which  the  growing  industries  of 
the  State  opened,  and  competed  for  the  trades  and  com 
mon  vocations.  The  outlook  was  certainly  dark. 

It  was  at  this  time  that  there  arose  to  prominence  and 
power  as  remarkable  a  trade  guild  as  ever  ruled  in  a  medi 
aeval  city.  It  took  complete  leadership  of  the  bewildered 
group  of  Negroes,  and  led  them  steadily  on  to  a  degree  of 
affluence,  culture  and  respect  such  as  has  probably  never 
been  surpassed  in  the  history  of  the  Negro  in  America. 
This  was  the  guild  of  the  caterers,  and  its  masters  include 
names  which  have  been  household  words  in  the  city  for  fifty 
years  :  Bogle,  Augustin,  Prosser,  Dorsey,  Jones  and  Minton. 
To  realize  just  the  character  of  this  new  economic 


Sect,  ii.]    The  Guild  of  the  Caterers,  1840-1870.  33 

development  we  must  not  forget  the  economic  history  of 
the  slaves.  At  first  they  were  wholly  house  servants  or 
field  hands.  As  city  life  in  the  colony  became  more 
important,  some  of  the  slaves  acquired  trades,  and  thus 
there  arose  a  class  of  Negro  artisans.  So  long  as  the 
pecuniary  interests  of  a  slaveholding  class  stood  back  of 
these  artisans  the  protests  of  white  mechanics  had  little 
effect ;  indeed  it  is  probable  that  between  1790  and  1820  a 
very  large  portion,  and  perhaps  most,  of  the  artisans  of  Phil 
adelphia  were  Negroes.  Thereafter,  however,  the  sharp 
competition  of  the  foreigners  and  the  demand  for  new  sorts 
of  skilled  labor  of  which  the  Negro  was  ignorant,  and  was 
not  allowed  to  learn,  pushed  the  black  artisans  more  and 
more  to  the  wall.  In  1837  only  about  350  men  out  of  a 
city  population  of  10,500  Negroes,  pursued  trades,  or  about 
one  in  every  twenty  adults. 

The  question,  therefore,  of  obtaining  a  decent  livelihood 
was  a  pressing  one  for  the  better  class  of  Negroes.  The 
masses  of  the  race  continued  to  depend  upon  domestic 
service,  where  they  still  had  a  practical  monopoly,  and 
upon  common  labor,  where  they  had  some  competition 
from  the  Irish.  To  the  more  pushing  and  energetic 
Negroes  only  two  courses  were  open :  to  enter  into  com 
mercial  life  in  some  small  way,  or  to  develop  certain  lines 
of  home  service  into  a  more  independent  and  lucrative 
employment.  In  this  latter  way  was  the  most  striking 
advance  made  ;  the  whole  catering  business,  arising  from 
an  evolution  shrewdly,  persistently  and  tastefully  directed, 
transformed  the  Negro  cook  and  waiter  into  the  public 
caterer  and  restaurateur,  and  raised  a  crowd  of  underpaid 
menials  to  become  a  set  of  self-reliant,  original  business 
men,  who  amassed  fortunes  for  themselves  and  won  general 
respect  for  their  people. 

The  first  prominent  Negro  caterer  was  Robert  Bogle, 
who,  early  in  the  century,  conducted  an  establishment  on 
Eighth  street,  near  Sansoin.  In  his  day  he  was  one  of  the 


34  Negro  in  Philadelphia,  1820—1896.     [Chap.  IV. 

best  known  characters  of  Philadelphia,  and  virtually  cre 
ated  the  business  of  catering  in  the  city.16  As  the  butler 
or  waiter  in  a  private  family  arranged  the  meals  and 
attended  the  family  on  ordinary  occasions,  so  the  public 
waiter  came  to  serve  different  families  in  the  same  capacity 
at  larger  and  more  elaborate  functions;  he  was  the  butler 
of  the  smart  set,  and  his  taste  of  hand  and  eye  and  palate 
set  the  fashion  of  the  day.  This  functionary  filled  a  unique 
place  in  a  time  when  social  circles  were  very  exclusive, 
and  the  millionaire  and  the  French  cook  had  not  yet 
arrived.  Bogle's  place  was  eventually  taken  by  Peter 
Augustin,  a  West  Indian  immigrant,  who  started  a  business 
in  1818  which  is  still  carried  on.  It  was  the  Augustin 
establishment  that  made  Philadelphia  catering  famous  all 
over  the  country.  The  best  families  of  the  city,  and  the 
most  distinguished  foreign  guests,  were  served  by  this 
caterer.  Other  Negroes  soon  began  to  crowd  into  the  field 
thus  opened.  The  Prossers,  father  and  son,  were  prominent 
among  these,  perfecting  restaurant  catering  and  making 
many  famous  dishes.  Finally  came  the  triumvirate  Jones, 
Dorsey  and  Minton,  who  ruled  the  fashionable  world  from 
1845-1875.  Of  these  Dorsey  was  the  most  unique  char 
acter  ;  with  little  education  but  great  refinement  of  man 
ner,  he  became  a  man  of  real  weight  in  the  community, 
and  associated  with  many  eminent  men.  "  He  had  the 
sway  of  an  imperial  dictator.  When  a  Democrat  asked 
his  menial  service  he  refused,  because  (  he  could  not  wait 
on  a  party  of  persons  who  were  disloyal  to  the  government, 
and  Lincoln' — pointing  to  the  picture  in  his  reception 
rooms — 'was  the  government.'"17  Jones  was  Virginia 

I6Biddle's  "Ode  to  Bogle, "  is  a  well-known  squib;  Bogle  himself  is 
credited  with  considerable  wit.  "  You  are  of  the  people  who  walk  in 
darkness,"  said  a  prominent  clergyman  to  him  once  in  a  dimly  lighted 
hall.  <c  But,"  replied  Bogle,  bowing  to  the  distinguished  gentleman,  "  I 
have  seen  a  great  light. ' ' 

17  See  in  Philadelphia  Times,  October  17,  1896,  the  following  notes  by 
' '  Megargee :' '  Dorsey  was  one  of  the  triumvirate  of  colored  caterers— the 


Sect,  ii.]    The  Guild  of  the  Caterers,  1840-1870.  35 

born,  and  a  man  of  great  care  and  faithfulness.  He  catered 
to  families  in  Philadelphia,  New  Jersey  and  New  York.18 
Minton,  the  younger  of  the  three,  long  had  a  restaurant  at 
Fourth  and  Chestnut,  and  became,  as  the  others  did,  mod 
erately  wealthy.19 

Such  men  wielded  great  personal  influence,  aided  the 
Abolition  cause  to  no  little  degree,  and  made  Philadelphia 
noted  for  its  cultivated  and  well-to-do  Negro  citizens. 
Their  conspicuous  success  opened  opportunities  for  Negroes 
in  other  lines.  It  was  at  this  time  that  Stephen  Smith 
amassed  a  very  large  fortune  as  a  lumber  merchant,  with 
which  he  afterward  handsomely  endowed  a  home  for  aged 


other  two  being  Henry  Jones  and  Henry  Minton — who  some  years  ago 
might  have  been  said  to  rule  the  social  world  of  Philadelphia  through  its 
stomach.  Time  was  when  lobster  salad,  chicken  croquettes,  deviled 
crabs  and  terrapin  composed  the  edible  display  at  every  big  Philadelphia 
gathering,  and  none  of  those  dishes  were  thought  to  be  perfectly  pre 
pared  unless  they  came  from  the  hands  of  one  of  the  three  men 
named.  Without  making  any  invidious  comparisons  between  those  who 
were  such  masters  of  the  gastronomic  art,  it  can  fairly  be  said  that  out 
side  of  his  kitchen,  Thomas  J.  Dorsey  outranked  the  others.  Although 
without  schooling,  he  possessed  a  naturally  refined  instinct  that  led  him 
to  surround  himself  with  both  men  and  things  of  an  elevating  character. 
It  was  his  proudest  boast  that  at  his  table,  in  his  Locust  street  residence, 
there  had  sat  Charles  Sumner,  William  Lloyd  Garrison,  John  W.  Forney, 
William  D.  Kelley  and  Fred  Douglass.  .  .  .  Yet  Thomas  Dorsey  had 
been  a  slave;  had  been  held  in  bondage  by  a  Maryland  planter.  Nor  did 
he  escape  from  his  fetters  until  he  had  reached  a  man's  estate.  He  fled 
to  this  city,  but  was  apprehended  and  returned  to  his  master.  During 
his  brief  stay  in  Philadelphia,  however,  he  made  friends,  and  these  raised 
a  fund  of  sufficient  proportion  to  purchase  his  freedom.  As  a  caterer  he 
quickly  achieved  both  fame  and  fortune.  His  experience  of  the  horrors 
of  slavery  had  instilled  him  with  an  undying  reverence  for  those  cham 
pions  of  his  down-trodden  race,  the  old-time  Abolitionists.  He  took  a 
prominent  part  in  all  efforts  to  elevate  his  people,  and  in  that  way  he 
came  in  close  contact  with  Sumner,  Garrison,  Forney  and  others. 

18  Henry  Jones  was  in  the  catering  business  thirty  years,  and  died 
September  24,  1875,  leaving  a  considerable  estate. 

19  Henry  Minton  came  from  Nansemond  County,  Virginia,  at  the  age 
of  nineteen,  arriving  in  Philadelphia  in  1830.     He  was  first  apprenticed 
to  a  shoemaker,  then  went  into  a  hotel  as  waiter.     Finally  he  opened 
dining  rooms  at  Fourth  and  Chestnut.     He  died  March  20,  1883. 


36  Negro  in  Philadelphia,  1820-1896.    [Chap.  IV. 

and  infirm  Negroes.  Whipper,  Vidal  and  Purnell  were 
associated  with  Smith  at  different  times.  Still  and  Bowers 
were  coal  merchants  and  Adger  was  in  the  furniture 
business.  There  were  also  some  artists  of  ability  :  Bowser, 
who  painted  a  portrait  of  Lincoln,  and  Douglass  and  Burr ; 
Johnson,  the  leader  of  a  famous  colored  band  and  a  com 
poser.20 

During  this  time  of  effort,  advance  and  assimilation  the 
Negro  population  increased  but  slowly,  for  the  economic 
struggle  was  too  earnest  for  young  and  indiscriminate  mar 
riages,  and  immigrants  had  been  frightened  away  by  the 
riots.  In  1840  there  were  19,833  Negroes  in  the  county, 
and  ten  years  later,  as  has  been  noted,  there  were  only 
19,761.  For  the  next  decade  there  was  a  moderate  increase 
to  22,185,  when  the  war  brought  a  slight  decrease,  leaving 
the  Negro  population  22,147  in  1870.  Meantime  the 
white  population  had  increased  by  leaps  and  bounds  : 

POPULATION  OF  PHILADELPHIA  COUNTY,  1840-1870. 


Date. 

Whites. 

Negroes. 

184.0               

238,204 

19,8^3 

1850      

l8Q,OOI 

]Q,76l 

j86o                ...           

S43,  ^44 

22,185 

1870     

651,854 

22,147 

In  1810  the  Negroes  had  formed  nearly  one-tenth  of  the 
total  population  of  the  city,  but  in  1870  they  formed  but 
little  over  one  thirty-third,  the  lowest  proportion  ever 
reached  in  the  history  of  Philadelphia. 

The  general  social  condition  showed  some  signs  of  im 
provement  from  1840  on.  In  1847  there  were  1940  Negro 
children  in  school  ;  the  Negroes  held,  it  was  said,  about 
$400,000  in  real  estate  and  had  19  churches  and  106 
benevolent  societies.  The  mass  of  the  race  were  still 
domestic  servants — about  4000  of  the  11,000  in  the  city 

20  This  band  was  in  great  demand  at  social  functions,  and  its  leader 
received  a  trumpet  from  Queen  Victoria. 


Sect,  ii.]    The  Guild  of  the  Caterers,  1840-1870.  37 

proper  being  thus  employed,  a  figure  which  probably 
meant  a  considerable  majority  of  the  adults.  The 
remainder  were  chiefly  employed  as  laborers,  artisans, 
coachmen,  expressmen  and  barbers. 

The  habitat  of  the  Negro  population  changed  somewhat 
in  this  period.  About  1790  one-fourth  of  the  Negroes 
lived  between  Vine  and  Market  and  east  of  Ninth  ;  one- 
half  between  Market  and  South,  mostly  in  the  alleys 
bounded  by  Lombard,  Fifth,  Eighth  and  South;  one- 
eighth  lived  below  South,  and  one-eighth  in  the  Northern 
Liberties.  Many  of  these,  of  course,  lived  in  white 
families.  In  1837  a  quarter  of  the  Negroes  were  in  white 
families,  a  little  less  than  one-half  were  in  the  city  limits 
centring  at  Sixth  and  Lombard  or  thereabouts  ;  a  tenth 
lived  in  Moyamensing,  a  twentieth  in  the  Northern  Lib 
erties,  and  the  remaining  part  in  Kensington  and 
Spring  Garden  districts.  The  riots  concentrated  this 
population  somewhat,  and  in  1847,  °^  ^e  20,000  Negroes 
in  the  county,  only  1300  lived  north  of  Vine  and  east  of 
Sixth.  The  rest  were  in  the  city  proper,  in  Moyamensing 
and  in  Southwark.  Moyamensing  was  the  worst  slum 
district:  between  South  and  Fitzwater  and  Fifth  and 
Eighth  there  were  crowded  302  families  in  narrow,  filthy 
alleys.  Here  was  concentrated  the  worst  sort  of  depravity, 
poverty,  crime  and  disease.  The  present  slums  at  Seventh 
and  Lombard  are  bad  and  dangerous,  but  they  are  de 
cent  compared  with  those  of  a  half  century  ago.  The 
Negroes  furnished  one-third  of  all  the  commitments  for 
crime  in  1837,  and  one-half  in  1847. 

Beginning  with  1850  the  improvement  of  the  Negro 
was  more  rapid.  The  value  of  real  estate  held  was  esti 
mated  to  have  doubled  between  1847  and  1856.  The 
proportion  of  men  in  the  trades  remained  stationary  ; 
there  were  3321  children  in  school.  Toward  the  time  of 
the  outbreak  of  war  the  feeling  toward  the  Negro  in  certain 
classes  softened  somewhat,  and  his  staunch  friends  were 


38  Negro  in  Philadelphia,  1820-1896.   [Chap.  IV. 

enabled  to  open  many  benevolent  institutions ;  in  many 
ways  a  disposition  to  help  them  was  manifested :  the 
newspapers  treated  them  with  more  respect,  and  they  were 
not  subject  so  frequently  to  personal  insult  on  the  street. 

They  were  still  kept  off  the  street  cars  in  spite  of  ener 
getic  protest.  Indeed,  not  until  1867  was  a  law  passed 
prohibiting  this  discrimination.  Judicial  decisions  upheld 
the  railways  for  a  long  time,  and  newspapers  and  public 
opinion  supported  them.  When  by  Judge  Allison's  decis 
ion  the  attitude  of  the  courts  was  changed,  and  damages 
granted  an  evicted  Negro,  the  railway  companies  often 
side-tracked  and  left  cars  which  colored  passengers  had 
entered.  Separate  cars  were  run  for  them  on  some  lines, 
and  in  1865  a  public  ballot  on  the  cars  was  taken  to  decide 
the  admission  of  Negroes.  Naturally  the  conductors 
returned  a  large  majority  against  any  change.  Finally, 
after  public  meetings,  pamphlets  and  repeated  agitation, 
the  prospective  enfranchisement  of  the  freedmen  gained 
what  decency  and  common  sense  had  long  refused.21 

Steps  toward  raising  Negro  troops  in  the  city  were 
taken  in  1863,  as  soon  as  the  efficiency  of  the  Negro  soldier 
had  been  proven.  Several  hundred  prominent  citizens 
petitioned  the  Secretary  of  War  and  were  given  permis 
sion  to  raise  Negro  regiments.  The  troops  were  to  receive 
no  bounties,  but  were  to  have  $10  a  month  and  rations. 
They  were  to  rendezvous  at  Camp  William  Penn,  Chelten 
Hills.  A  mass  meeting  was  soon  held  attended  by  the 
prominent  caterers,  teachers  and  merchants,  together  with 
white  citizens,  at  which  Frederick  Douglass,  W.  D.  Kelley 
and  Anna  Dickinson  spoke.  Over  $30,000  was  raised  in 
the  city  by  subscription,  and  the  first  squad  of  soldiers 
went  into  camp  June  26,  1863.  By  December,  three 


21  See  Spiers'  "Street  Railway  System  of  Philadelphia/'  pp.  23-27; 
also  unpublished  MS.  of  Mr.  Bernheimer,  on  file  among  the  senior  theses 
in  the  Wharton  School  of  Finance  and  Economy,  University  of  Penn 
sylvania. 


Sect  I2.J    Influx  of  the  Freedmen^  1870-1896+  39 

regiments  were  full,  and  by  the  next  February,  five.  The 
first  three  regiments,  known  as  the  Third,  Sixth  and  Eighth 
United  States  Regiments  of  Colored  Troops,  went  promptly 
to  the  front,  the  Third  being  before  Fort  Wagner  when  it 
fell.  The  other  regiments  followed  as  called,  leaving  still 
other  Negroes  anxious  to  enlist22 

After  the  war  and  emancipation  great  hopes  were  enter 
tained  by  the  Negroes  for  rapid  advancement,  and  nowhere 
did  they  seem  better  founded  than  in  Philadelphia.  The 
generation  then  in  its  prime  had  lived  down  a  most  intense 
and  bitter  race  feud  and  had  gained  the  respect  of  the 
better  class  of  whites.  They  started  with  renewed  zeal, 
therefore,  to  hasten  their  social  development. 

12.  The  Influx  of  the  Freedmen,  1870-1896. — The 
period  opened  stormily,  on  account  of  the  political  rights 
newly  conferred  on  black  voters.  Philadelphia  city  politics 
have  ever  had  a  shady  side,  but  when  it  seemed  manifest 
that  one  political  party,  by  the  aid  of  Negro  votes,  was 
soon  to  oust  the  time-honored  incumbents,  all  the  lawless 
elements  which  bad  city  government  for  a  half-century  had 
nurtured  naturally  fought  for  the  old  regime.  They  found 
this  the  easier  since  the  city  toughs  were  largely  Irish  and 
hereditary  enemies  of  the  blacks.  In  the  spring  elections 
of  1871  there  was  so  much  disorder,  and  such  poor  police 
protection,  that  the  United  States  marines  were  called  on 
to  preserve  order.23 

In  the  fall  elections  street  disorders  resulted  in  the  cold 
blooded  assassination  of  several  Negroes,  among  whom  was 
an  estimable  young  teacher,  Octavius  V.  Catto.  The  mur 
der  of  Catto  came  at  a  critical  moment ;  to  the  Negroes  it 
seemed  a  revival  of  the  old  slavery-time  riots  in  the  day 
when  they  were  first  tasting  freedom ;  to  the  better  classes 
of  Philadelphia  it  revealed  a  serious  state  of  barbarism  and 
lawlessness  in  the  second  city  of  the  land  ;  to  the  politicians 

22  Pamphlet  on  "  Enlistment  of  Negro  Troops,"  Philadelphia  Library, 
»Cf.  Scharf-Westcott,  I,  837. 


40  Negro  in  Philadelphia,  1820-1896.    [Chap.  IV. 

it  furnished  a  text  and  example  which  was  strikingly 
effective  and  which  they  did  not  hesitate  to  use.  The 
result  of  all  this  was  an  outburst  of  indignation  and  sor 
row,  which  was  remarkable,  and  which  showed  a  deter 
mined  stand  for  law  and  order.  The  outward  expression 
of  this  was  a  great  mass  meeting,  attended  by  some  of  the 
best  citizens,  and  a  funeral  for  Catto  which  was  perhaps 
the  most  imposing  ever  given  to  an  American  Negro.24 

24  The  following  account  of  an  eye-witness,  Mr.  W.  C.  Bolivar,  is  from 
the  Philadelphia  Tribune,  a  Negro  paper :  "  In  the  spring  election 
preceding  the  murder  of  Octavius  V.  Catto,  there  was  a  good  deal  of 
rioting.  It  was  at  this  election  that  the  United  States  Marines  were 
brought  into  play  under  the  command  of  Col.  James  Forney.  Their  very 
presence  had  the  salutary  effect  of  preserving  order.  The  handwriting 
of  political  disaster  to  the  Democratic  party  was  plainly  noticed  This 
galled  'the  unterrified, '  and  much  of  the  rancor  was  owing  to  the  fact 
that  the  Negro  vote  would  guarantee  Republican  supremacy  beyond  a 
doubt.  Even  then  Catto  had  a  narrow  escape  through  a  bullet  shot  at 
Michael  Maher,  an  ardent  Republican,  whose  place  of  business  was  at 
Eighth  and  Lombard  streets.  This  assault  was  instigated  by  Dr.  Gilbert, 
whose  paid  or  coerced  hirelings  did  his  bidding.  The  Mayor,  D.  M.  Fox, 
was  a  mild,  easygoing  Democrat,  who  seemed  a  puppet  in  the  hands  of 
astute  conscienceless  men.  The  night  prior  to  the  day  in  question,  Octo 
ber  10,  1871,  a  colored  man  named  Gordon  was  shot  down  in  cold  blood 
on  Eighth  street.  The  spirit  of  mobocracy  filled  the  air,  and  the  object 
of  its  spleen  seemed  to  have  been  the  colored  men.  A  cigar  store  kept 
by  Morris  Brown,  Jr.,  was  the  resort  of  the  Pythian  and  Bauneker  mem 
bers,  and  it  was  at  this  place  on  the  night  prior  to  the  murder  that  Catto 
appeared  among  his  old  friends  for  the  last  time.  When  the  hour  arrived 
for  home  going,  Catto  went  the  near  and  dangerous  way  to  his  residence, 
814  South  street,  and  said  as  he  left,  '  I  would  not  stultify  my  manhood 
by  going  to  my  home  in  a  roundabout  way.'  Wheu  he  reached  his 
residence  he  found  one  of  its  dwellers  had  his  hat  taken  from  him  at  a 
point  around  the  corner.  He  went  out  and  into  one  of  the  worst  places 
in  the  Fourth  Ward  and  secured  it 

"Intimidation  and  assault  began  with  the  opening  of  the  polls.  The 
first  victim  was  Levi  Bolden,  a  playfellow,  as  a  boy,  with  the  chronicler 
of  these  notes.  Whenever  they  could  conveniently  catch  a  colored  man 
they  forthwith  proceeded  to  assail  him.  Later  in  the  day  a  crowd  forced 
itself  into  Emeline  street  and  battered  in  the  brains  of  Isaac  Chase,  going 
into  his  home,  wreaking  their  spite  on  this  defenceless  man,  in  the  pres 
ence  of  his  family.  The  police  force  was  Democratic,  and  not  only  stood 
idly  by,  but  gave  practical  support.  They  took  pains  to  keep  that  part 
of  the  city  not  in  the  bailiwick  of  the  rioters  from  knowing  anything  of 


Sect.  12.]    Influx  of  the  Freedmen,  1870-1896.  41 

This  incident,  and  the  general  expression  of  opinion 
after  the  war,  showed  a  growing  liberal  spirit  toward  the 

what  was  transpiring.  Catto  voted  and  went  to  school,  but  dismissed  it 
after  realizing  the  danger  of  keeping  it  open  during  the  usual  hours. 
Somewhere  near  3  o'clock  as  he  neared  his  dwelling,  two  or  three  men 
were  seen  to  approach  him  from  the  rear,  and  one  of  them,  supposed  to 
have  been  either  Frank  Kelly  or  Reddy  Dever,  pulled  out  a  pistol  and 
pointed  it  at  Catto.  The  aim  of  the  man  was  sure,  and  Catto  barely  got 
around  a  street  car  before  he  fell.  This  occurred  directly  in  front  of  a 
police  station,  into  which  he  was  carried.  The  news  spread  in  every 
direction.  The  wildest  excitement  prevailed,  and  not  only  colored  men, 
but  those  with  the  spirit  of  fair  play,  realized  the  gravity  of  the  situation, 
with  a  divided  sentiment  as  to  whether  they  ought  to  make  an  assault  on 
the  Fourth  Ward  or  take  steps  to  preserve  the  peace.  The  latter  pre 
vailed,  and  the  scenes  of  carnage,  but  a  few  hours  back,  when  turbulence 
was  supreme,  settled  down  to  an  opposite  state  of  almost  painful  calm 
ness.  The  rioting  during  that  day  was  in  parts  of  the  Fifth,  Seventh  and 
Fourth  wards,  whose  boundary  lines  met.  It  must  not  be  supposed  that 
the  colored  people  were  passive  when  attacked,  because  the  records  show 
*  an  eye  for  an  eye  and  a  tooth  for  a  tootn,'  in  every  instance.  No  pen 
is  graphic  enough  to  detail  the  horrors  of  that  day.  Bach  home  was  in 
sorrow,  and  strong  men  wept  like  children,  when  they  realized  how  much 
had  been  lost  in  the  untimely  death  of  the  gifted  Catto. 

"  Men  who  had  sat  quietly  unmindful  of  things  not  directly  concerning 
themselves,  were  aroused  to  the  gravity  of  the  situation,  wrought  by  the 
spirit  of  a  mob,  came  out  of  their  seclusion  and  took  a  stand  for  law  and 
order.  It  was  a  righteous  public  sentiment  that  brought  brute  force  to 
bay.  The  journals  not  only  here,  but  the  country  over,  with  one  voice 
condemned  the  lawless  acts  of  October  10,  1871.  Sympathetic  public 
gatherings  were  held  in  many  cities,  with  the  keynote  of  condemnation 
as  the  only  true  one.  Here  in  Philadelphia  a  meeting  of  citizens  was 
held,  from  which  grew  the  greater,  held  in  National  Hall,  on  Market 
street,  below  Thirteenth.  The  importance  of  this  gathering  is  shown  by 
a  list  its  promoters.  Samuel  Perkins,  Esq.,  called  it  to  order,  and  the 
eminent  Hon.  Henry  C.  Carey  presided.  Among  some  of  those  in 
the  list  of  vice-presidents  were  Hon.  William  M.  Meredith,  Gustavus 
S.  Benson,  Alex.  Biddle,  Joseph  Harrison,  George  H.  Stuart,  J.  Effing- 
ham  Fell,  George  H.  Boker,  Morton  McMichael,  James  L.  Claghorn,  F. 
C.  and  Benjamin  H.  Brewster,  Thomas  H.  Powers,  Hamilton  Disston, 
William  B.  Mann,  John  W.  Forney,  John  Price  Wetherill,  R.  I/.  Ashhurst, 
William  H.  Kemble,  William  S.  Stokley,  Judge  Mitchell,  Generals 
Collis  and  Sickel,  Congressmen  Kelley,  Harmer,  Myers,  Creely,  O'Neill, 
Samuel  H.  Bell  and  hundreds  more.  These  names  represented  the 
wealth,  brains  and  moral  excellence  of  this  community.  John  Goforth, 
the  eminent  lawyer,  read  the  resolutions,  which  were  seconded  in 


42  Negro  in  Philadelphia,  1820-1896.    [Chap.  IV. 

Negro  in  Philadelphia.  There  was  a  disposition  to  grant 
him,  within  limits,  a  man's  chance  to  make  his  way  in  the 
world ;  he  had  apparently  vindicated  his  right  to  this  in 
war,  and  his  ability  for  it  in  peace.  Slowly,  but  surely, 
therefore,  the  community  was  disposed  to  throw  off  the 
trammels,  brush  away  petty  hindrances  and  to  soften  the 
harshness  of  race  prejudice,  at  least  enough  to  furnish  the 
new  citizen  the  legal  safeguards  of  a  citizen  and  the  per 
sonal  privileges  of  a  man.  By  degrees  the  restrictions  on 
personal  liberty  were  relaxed ;  the  street  cars,  which  for 

speeches  by  Hon.  William  B.  Mann,  Robert  Purvis,  Isaiah  C.  Weirs, 
Rev.  J.  Walker  Jackson,  Gen.  C.  H.  T.  Collis  and  Hon.  Alex.  K. 
McClure.  These  all  breathed  the  same  spirit,  the  condemnation  of  mob 
law  and  a  demand  for  equal  and  exact  justice  to  all.  The  speech  of  Col. 
McClure  stands  out  boldly  among  the  greatest  forensic  efforts  ever  known 
to  our  city.  His  central  thought  was  '  the  unwritten  law/  which  made 
an  impression  beyond  my  power  to  convey.  In  the  meanwhile,  smaller 
meetings  were  held  in  all  parts  of  the  city  to  record  their  earnest  protest 
against  the  brute  force  of  the  day  before.  That  was  the  end  of  disorder 
in  a  large  scale  here.  On  the  sixteenth  of  October  the  funeral  occurred. 
The  body  lay  in  state  at  the  armory  of  the  First  Regiment,  Broad  and 
Race  streets,  and  was  guarded  by  the  military.  Not  since  the  funeral 
cortege  of  President  Lincoln  had  there  been  one  as  large  or  as  imposing 
in  Philadelphia.  Outside  of  the  Third  Brigade,  N.  G.  P.,  detached  com 
mands  from  the  First  Division,  and  the  military  from  New  Jersey,  there 
were  civic  organizations  by  the  hundreds  from  Philadelphia,  to  say 
nothing  of  various  bodies  from  Washington,  Baltimore,  Wilmington, 
New  York  and  adjacent  places.  All  the  city  offices  were  closed,  beside 
many  schools.  City  Councils  attended  in  a  body,  the  State  Legislature 
was  present,  all  the  city  employes  marched  in  line,  and  personal  friends 
came  from  far  and  near  to  testify  their  practical  sympathy.  The  military 
was  under  the  command  of  General  Louis  Wagner,  and  the  civic  bodies 
marshaled  by  Robert  M.  Adger.  The  pall-bearers  were  Lieutenant  Colo 
nel  Ira  D.  Cliff,  Majors  John  W.  Simpson  and  James  H.  Grocker,  Captains 
J.  F.  Needhatn  and  R.  J.  Burr,  Lieutenants  J.  W.  Diton,  W.  W.  Morris 
and  Dr.  B.  C.  Howard,  Major  and  Surgeon  of  the  Twelfth  Regiment. 
This  is  but  a  mere  glance  backward  at  the  trying  days  of  October,  1871, 
and  is  written  to  refresh  the  minds  of  men  and  women  of  that  day,  as 
well  as  to  chronicle  a  bit  of  sad  history  that  this  generation  may  be 
informed.  And  so  closed  the  career  of  a  man  of  splendid  equipment, 
rare  force  of  character,  whose  life  was  so  interwoven  with  all  that  was 
good  about  us,  as  to  make  it  stand  out  in  bold  relief,  as  a  pattern  for 
those  who  have  followed  after. " 


Sect.  12.]    Influx  of  the  Freedmen,  1870-1896.  43 

many  years  had  sought  by  every  species  of  proscription  to 
get  rid  of  colored  passengers  or  carry  them  on  the  plat 
form,  were  finally  compelled  by  law  to  cancel  such  rules  ; 
the  railways  and  theatres  rather  tardily  followed,  and 
finally  even  the  schools  were  thrown  open  to  all.25  A 
deep-rooted  and  determined  prejudice  still  remained,  but  it 
showed  signs  of  yielding. 

It  cannot  be  denied  that  the  main  results  of  the  develop 
ment  of  the  Philadelphia  Negro  since  the  war  have  on  the 
whole  disappointed  his  well-wishers.  They  do  not  pretend 
that  he  has  not  made  great  advance  in  certain  lines,  or 
even  that  in  general  he  is  not  better  off  to-day  than  for 
merly.  They  do  not  even  profess  to  know  just  what  his 
condition  to-day  is,  and  yet  there  is  a  widespread  feeling 
that  more  might  reasonably  have  been  expected  in  the  line 
of  social  and  moral  development  than  apparently  has  been 
accomplished.  Not  only  do  they  feel  that  there  is  a  lack 
of  positive  results,  but  the  relative  advance  compared  with 
the  period  just  before  the  war  is  slow,  if  not  an  actual 
retrogression  ;  an  abnormal  and  growing  amount  of  crime 
and  poverty  can  justly  be  charged  to  the  Negro ;  he  is  not 
a  large  taxpayer,  holds  no  conspicuous  place  in  the  busi 
ness  world  or  the  world  of  letters,  and  even  as  a  working 
man  seems  to  be  losing  ground.  For  these  reasons  those 
who,  for  one  purpose  and  another,  are  anxiously  watch 
ing  the  development  of  the  American  Negro  desire  to 
know  first  how  far  these  general  impressions  are  true,  what 
the  real  condition  of  the  Negro  is  and  what  movements 
would  best  be  undertaken  to  improve  the  present  situa 
tion.  And  this  local  problem  is  after  all  but  a  small 
manifestation  of  the  larger  and  similar  Negro  problems 
throughout  the  land. 

For  such  ends  the  investigation,  the  results  of  which  are 
here  presented,  was  undertaken.  This  is  not  the  first  time 
such  a  study  has  been  attempted.  In  1837,  1847  and  1856 

25  Cf.  Appendix  B. 


44  Negro  in  Philadelphia,  1820-1896.    [Chap.  IV. 

studies  were  made  by  the  Abolition  Society  and  the  Friends 
and  much  valuable  data  procured.26  The  United  States 
censuses  have  also  added  to  our  general  knowledge,  and 
newspapers  have  often  interested  themselves  in  the  matter. 
Unfortunately,  however,  the  Friends'  investigations  are  not 
altogether  free  from  a  suspicion  of  bias  in  favor  of  the 
Negro,  the  census  reports  are  very  general  and  newspaper 
articles  necessarily  hurried  and  inaccurate.  This  study 
seeks  to  cull  judiciously  from  all  these  sources  and  others, 
and  to  add  to  them  specially  collected  data  for  the  years 
1896  and  1897. 

Before,  however,  we  enter  upon  the  consideration  of  this 
matter,  we  must  bring  to  mind  four  characteristics  of  the 
period  we  are  considering  :  (i)  The  growth  of  Philadelphia ; 

(2)  the  increase  of   the  foreign  population   in    the   city; 

(3)  the  development  of  the  large  industry  and  increase  of 
wealth,  and  (4)  the  coming  in  of  the  Southern  freedmen's 
sons  and  daughters.     Even  Philadelphians  hardly  realize 
that   the  population   of  their  staid   old   city  has  nearly 
doubled  since  the  war,  and  that  consequently  it  is  not  the 
same  place,  has  not  the  same  spirit,  as  formerly  ;  new  men, 
new  ideas,  new  ways  of  thinking  and  acting  have  gained 
some  entrance  ;  life  is  larger,  competition  fiercer,  and  con 
ditions  of  economic  and  social  survival  harder  than  formerly. 
Again,  while    there  were    perhaps  125,000  foreign  born 
persons  in  the  city  in  1860,  there  are  260,000  now,  not  to 


26  See  Appendix  C.  The  inquiry  of  1838  was  by  the  Philadelphia 
Society  for  Promoting  the  Abolition  of  Slavery,  and  the  report  was  in 
two  parts,  one  a  register  of  trades  and  one  a  general  report  of  forty 
pages.  The  Society  of  Friends,  or  the  Abolition  Society,  undertook  the 
inquiry  of  1849,  an^  published  a  pamphlet  of  forty-four  pages.  There 
was  also  the  same  year  a  report  on  the  health  of  colored  convicts.  A 
pamphlet  by  Edward  Needles  was  also  published  in  1849,  comparing  the 
Negroes  in  1837  and  1848.  Benjamin  C.  Bacon,  at  the  instance  of  the 
Abolition  Society,  made  the  inquiry  in  1856,  which  was  published  that 
year.  In  1859,  a  second  edition  was  issued  with  criminal  statistics.  All 
these  pamphlets  may  be  consulted  at  the  Library  Company  of  Philadel 
phia,  or  the  Ridgway  branch. 


Sect.  I2.J    Influx  of  the  Freedmen,  1870-1896.  45 

mention  the  children  of  the  former  born  here.  These 
foreigners  have  come  in  to  divide  with  native  Americans 
the  industrial  opportunities  of  the  city,  and  have  thereby 
intensified  competition.  Thirdly,  new  methods  of  con 
ducting  business  and  industry  are  now  rife :  the  little  shop, 
the  small  trader,  the  house  industry  have  given  way  to  the 
department  store,  the  organized  company  and  the  factory. 
Manufacturing  of  all  kinds  has  increased  by  leaps  and 
bounds  in  the  city,  and  to-day  employs  three  times  as  many 
men  as  in  1860,  paying  three  hundred  millions  annually 
in  wages ;  hacks  and  expressmen  have  turned  into  vast 
inter-urban  businesses:  restaurants  have  become  palatial 
hotels — the  whole  face  of  business  is  being  gradually 
transformed.  Finally,  into  this  rapid  development  have 
precipitated  themselves  during  the  last  twenty  years  fifteen 
thousand  immigrants,  mostly  from  Maryland,  Virginia 
and  Carolina — untrained  and  poorly  educated  countrymen, 
rushing  from  the  hovels  of  the  country  or  the  cottages  of 
country  towns,  suddenly  into  the  new,  strange  life  of  a 
great  city  to  mingle  with  25,000  of  their  race  already  there. 
What  has  been  the  result  ? 

[NoTE. — There  was  a  small  riot  in  1843  during  the  time 
of  Mayor  Swift.  In  1832  began  a  series  of  literary 
societies — the  Library  Company,  the  Banneker  Society,  etc. , 
— which  did  much  good  for  many  years.  The  first  Negro 
newspaper  of  the  city,  the  "Demosthenian  Shield,"  appeared 
in  1840.  Among  men  not  already  mentioned  in  this  period 
should  be  noted  the  Rev.  C.  W.  Gardner,  Dr.  J.  Bias,  the 
dentist,  James  McCrummell,  and  Sarah  M.  Douglass.  All 
these  were  prominent  Negroes  of  the  day  and  had  much 
influence.  The  artist,  Robert  Douglass,  is  the  painter  of  a 
portrait  of  Fannie  Kemble,  which  its  Philadelphia  owner 
to-day  prefers  to  attribute  to  Thomas  Dudley.] 


CHAPTER  V. 


THE  SIZE,  AGE  AND  SEX  OF  THE  NEGRO  POPULATION. 

13.  The  City  for  a  Century. — The  population  of  the 
county1  of  Philadelphia  increased  about  twenty-fold  from 
1790  to  1890 ;  starting  with  50,000  whites  and  2500 
Negroes  at  the  first  census,  it  had  at  the  time  of  the 
eleventh  census,  a  million  whites  and  40,000  Negroes.  Com 
paring  the  rate  of  increase  of  these  two  elements  of  the 
population  we  have : 

OP  INCREASE  OF  NEGROES  AND  WHITES. 


Decade  from 

Negroes. 

Whites. 

Decade  from 

Negroes. 

Whites. 

1790-1800 
1800-1810       .    . 
1810-1820       .    . 
1820-1830       .    . 
1830-1840       ,    . 

176.42^ 

52.93 
13.00 

31.39 
27.07 

42.92^ 

35-55 
22.8o 

39*94 

37-54 

1840-1850*  .  . 
1850-1860  .  . 
1860-1870*  .  . 
1870  1880  .  . 
1880-1890 

^% 
12.26 

•17 
43-13 
24.20 

63-30$ 
39.67 
19.96 

25.08 
23.42 

*  Decrease  for  Negroes. 

The  first  two  decades  were  years  of  rapid  increase  for  the 
Negroes,  their  number  rising  from  2489  in  1790  to  10,552  in 
1810.  This  was  due  to  the  incoming  of  the  new  freedmen 
and  of  servants  with  masters,  all  to  some  extent  attracted 
by  the  social  and  industrial  opportunities  of  the  city. 
The  white  population  during  this  period  also  increased 
largely,  though  not  so  rapidly  as  the  Negroes,  rising  from 


1  The  unit  for  study  throughout  this  essay  has  been  made  the  county 
of  Philadelphia,  and  not  the  city,  except  where  the  city  is  especially 
mentioned.  Since  1854,  the  city  and  county  have  been  coterminous. 
Kven  before  that  the  population  of  the  "districts  "  was  for  our  purposes 
an  urban  population,  and  a  part  of  the  group  life  of  Philadelphia. 

(46) 


Sect  13.] 


The  City  for  a  Century. 


47 


51,902  in  1790  to  100,688  in  1810.  During  the  next 
decade  the  war  had  its  influence  on  both  races  although 
it  naturally  had  its  greatest  effect  on  the  lower  which 
increased  only  13  per  cent  against  an  increase  of  28.6  per 
cent  among  the  Negroes  of  the  country  at  large.  This 
brought  the  Negro  population  of  the  county  to  11,891, 
while  the  white  population  stood  at  123,746.  During  the 
next  two  decades,  1820  to  1840,  the  Negro  population  rose 
to  19,833,  by  natural  increase  and  immigration,  while  the 
white  population,  feeling  the  first  effects  of  foreign  immi 
gration,  increased  to  238,204.  For  the  next  thirty  years 
the  continued  foreign  arrivals,  added  to  natural  growth, 
caused  the  white  population  to  increase  nearly  three-fold, 
while  the  same  cause  combined  with  others  allowed  an 
increase  of  little  more  than  2000  persons  among  the  Negroes, 
bringing  the  black  population  up  to  22,147.  In  the  last 
two  decades  the  rush  to  cities  on  the  part  of  both  white  and 
black  has  increased  the  former  to  1,006,590  souls  and  the 
latter  to  39,371.  The  following  table  gives  the  exact 
figures  for  each  decade  : 

POPULATION  OF  PHILADELPHIA,  1790-1890. 


Date. 

Whites. 

Negroes. 

Total. 

City. 

County. 

City. 

County. 

City. 

County. 

179^-  -  - 
1800  .  . 

5I,902 
74,129 
100,688 
123,746 

173,  J73 

Y,582 

2,489 
6,880 
10,552 
11,891 

15,624 
17,500 

19,833 
20,240 
19,761 

28,552 
41,220 
53,722 
63,802 
80,462 

54,391 
81,009 
111,240 

135,637 
188,797 

1810  .... 

1820  .... 
1830  .  . 

56,220 

1818 

1840  .... 

T&17 

83,158 

238,204 

10,507 
11,000? 

10,736 

93,^65 

258,037 

1850  .... 
1856  . 

110,640 

389,001 

121,376 

408,762 

1860.  ... 
1870  .... 
1880.  ... 
1890  .... 

543,344 
651,854 
815,362 

1,006,590 

22,185 
22,147 
31,699 
39.371 

565,529 
674,022* 

847,170* 
1,046,964* 

*These  totals  include  Chinese,  Indians,  etc. 


48 


Sise,  Age  and  Sex. 


[Chap.  V. 


1 

3 

n« 

ft 

-.      Wf^OTOf1*? 

I 

| 

I 

f 

§ 

i 

40,000 

I 

i 

i 

so 

i 

1 

35,000 
30,000 
25,000 
20,000 
15,000 
10,000 
5000 

h 

i 

1 

I 

1 

in 

1    i 

/ 

i 

y 

t 

+  *  + 

*     •* 

/ 

j 

X 

/ 

/ 

X 

^" 

/ 

/ 

/ 

on 

S 

JO 

in 

5 

S 

^ 

- 

' 

* 

s  § 

i    i    §     i     !     f     §     s     i     i 

§ 

INCREASE   OF  THE   NEGRO    POPULATION  IN  PHILA 
DELPHIA   FOR   A   CENTURY. 

[NOTE. — Each  horizontal  line  represents  an  increment  of 
2500  persons  in  population  ;  the  upright  lines  represent  the 
decades.  The  broken  diagonal  shows  the  course  of  Negro 
population,  and  the  arrows  above  recall  historic  events  pre 
viously  referred  to  as  influencing  the  increase  of  the 
Negroes.  At  the  base  of  the  upright  lines  is  a  figure 
giving  the  percentage  which  the  Negro  population  formed 
of  the  total  population.] 


The  City  for  a  Century. 


49 


Sect  13.] 

The  Negro  has  never  formed  a  very  large  percent  of  the 
population  of  the  city,  as  this  diagram  shows  : 


10  PerCt 


PROPORTION  OF  NEGROES  IN  TOTAL  POPULATION  OP  PHILADELPHIA. 

A  glance  at  these  tables  shows  how  much  more  sensitive 
the  lower  classes  of  a  population  are  to  great  social  changes 
than  the  rest  of  the  group;  prosperity  brings  abnormal 
increase,  adversity,  abnormal  decrease  in  mere  numbers,  not 
to  speak  of  other  less  easily  measurable  changes.  Doubt 
less  if  we  could  divide  the  white  population  into  social 
strata,  we  would  find  some  classes  whose  characteristics 
corresponded  in  many  respects  to  those  of  the  Negro.  Or 
to  view  the  matter  from  the  opposite  standpoint  we  have 
here  an  opportunity  of  tracing  the  history  and  condition 
of  a  social  class  which  peculiar  circumstances  have  kept 
segregated  and  apart  from  the  mass. 

If  we  glance  beyond  Philadelphia  and  compare  con 
ditions  as  to  increase  of  Negro  population  with  the  situa 
tion  in  the  country  at  large  we  can  make  two  interesting  com 
parisons  :  the  rate  of  increase  in  a  large  city  compared  with 


Size,  Age  and  Sex. 


[Chap.  V. 


50 

that  in  the  country  at  large ;  and  the  changes  in  the  proper- 
tion  of  Negro  inhabitants  in  the  city  and  the  United  States. 

INCREASE  o*  NEGROES  IN  THE  UNITED  STATES  AND  IN  THE  CITY 
OF  PHILADELPHIA  COMPARED. 


Decade. 

Increase  in 

Census  Year. 

Percentage  of  Negroes 
in  Total  Population  in 

Phila 
delphia, 

United 
States. 

Phila 
delphia. 

United 
States. 

1790-1800  . 

3800-1810  . 

l8lO-I<S20  . 
1820-1830  . 
1830-1840  . 
1840-1850  . 
1850-1860  . 
1860-1870  . 
1870-1880  . 
1880-1890  . 

/* 
176.42 

52-93 
13.00 

3L39 
27.07 
.36* 
12.26 
.17* 

43.13 
24.20 

% 
32-33 
37.50 
28.59 
3L44 
23.40 
26.63 
22.07 
9.86 
34.85 
13.51 

I7oo  

% 
4-57 
8.49 
9-45 
8.76 
8.27 
7-39 
4.83 
3-92 
328 
3-74 
3-76 

% 
19.27 

J8.88 
19.03 

lS.39 
18.10 

16.84 
15.69 
14.13 
12.66 
13.12 
Ir-93 

I800  
1810         .    .   . 

1820  

1830  

1840  

1850         .   .   . 

1860         .   .   . 

1870         .    ,   . 

1880  ..... 

1890  

*  Decrease. 


A  glance  at  the  proportion  of  Negroes  in  Philadelphia 
and  in  the  United  States  shows  how  largely  the  Negro 
problems  are  still  problems  of  the  country.  (See  diagram 
of  the  proportion  of  Negroes  in  the  total  population  of 
Philadelphia  and  of  the  United  States  on  opposite  page.) 

This  is  even  more  striking  if  we  remember  that  Phila 
delphia  ranks  high  in  the  absolute  and  relative  number  of 
its  Negro  inhabitants.  For  the  ten  largest  cities  in  the 
United  States  we  have : 

TEN  LARGEST  CITIES  IN  THE  UNITED  STATES  ARRANGED  ACCORDING 
TO  NEGRO  POPULATION. 


Cities. 

Negro 
Population. 

Cities. 

Proportion 
of  Negroes  to 
Total 
Population. 

I,  Baltimore  ,   .    .   . 
2.  Philadelphia     .   . 
3.  St.  Louis    .... 
4.  New  York     .    .   . 
5    Chicago  ..... 

67,104 

39'37* 
26,865 
23,601 
14,271 

I.  Baltimore  .    . 
2.  St.  Louis   .    . 
3.  Philadelphia 
4.  Cincinnati     . 
5.  Boston       .   . 

15-49^ 
5-94 
3.76 
3-72 
.76 

6.  Cincinnati     .    .   . 
tj   Brooklvn 

11,655 
10  287 

6.  New  York     . 
7.  Chicago      .    . 

•55 

.20 

8    Boston    .... 

8,125 

8.  Brooklyn  .   . 

.27 

9.  Cleveland  .... 
TO.  San  Francisco  .    . 

2,989 
1,847 

9.  Cleveland  -    . 
10.  San  Francisco 

.14 
.61 

Sect.  13.] 


The  City  for  a  Century. 


52 


Size,  Age  and  Sex. 


[Chap.  V. 


I 

P< 

3 

o 


8 

00 


<1 

<£ 


IN 

00 


p 
^      o 

•$    '-5 

X.  CO 


a  s 


3 
£ 


00 
fO 

ex 


i 


Cw  *^» 


I 


O        00 

O.       -1 

3 

o 


5 


•2 

s. 


1 

If 

3 

o 


Sect  13.] 


The  City  for  a  Century. 


53 


Of  all  the  large  cities  in  the  United  States,  only  three 
have  a  larger  absolute  Negro  population  than  Philadelphia : 
Washington,  New  Orleans  and  Baltimore.  We  seldom 
realize  that  none  of  the  great  Southern  cities,  except  the 
three  mentioned,  have  a  colored  population  approaching 
that  of  Philadelphia : 

COLORED*  POPULATION  OF  LARGE  SOUTHERN  CITIES. 


Cities. 

Colored 
Inhabitants. 

Cities. 

Colored 
Inhabitants. 

Washington,  D.  C.  . 
New  Orleans,  La.  .  . 
Philadelphia,  Pa.  .  . 
Richmond  Va 

75,697 
64,663 

40,374* 
^2,*S4. 

Nashville,  Tenn.  .  . 
Memphis,  Tenn.  .  . 
Louisville,  Ky.  .  .  . 
Atlanta,  Ga 

29,395 
28,729 
28,672 
28,117 

Charleston,  S.  C.  .  . 

31,036 

Savannah,  Ga.  .  .  . 

22,978 

*  Includes  Chinese,  Japanese  and  civilized  Indians,  an  insignificant  number  in 
these  cases. 

Taken  by  itself,  the  Negro  population  of  Philadelphia  is 
no  insignificant  group  of  men,  as  the  foregoing  diagrams 
show.  (See  page  52.) 

In  other  words,  we  are  studying  a  group  of  people  the 
size  of  the  capital  of  Pennsylvania  in  1890,  and  as  large  as 
Philadelphia  itself  in  1800. 

Scanning  this  population  more  carefully,  the  first  thing 
that  strikes  one  is  the  unusual  excess  of  females.  This 
fact,  which  is  true  of  all  Negro  urban  populations,  has  not 
often  been  noticed,  and  has  not  been  given  its  true  weight 
as  a  social  phenomenon.2  If  we  take  the  ten  cities  having 
the  greatest  Negro  populations,  we  have  this  table  : 3 


3  My  attention  was  first  called  to  this  fact  by  Professor  Kelly  Miller, 
of  Howard  University;  cf.  "  Publications  of  American  Negro  Academy," 
No.  i.  There  is  probably,  in  taking  censuses,  a  larger  percentage  of 
omissions  among  males  than  among  females;  such  omissions  would, 
however,  go  but  a  small  way  toward  explaining  this  excess  of  females. 

3  In  a  good  many  of  the  Eleventh  Census  tables,  "  Chinese,  Japanese 
and  civilized  Indians,"  were  very  unwisely  included  in  the  total  of  the 
Colored,  making  an  error  to  be  allowed  for  when  one  studies  the  Negro. 
In  most  cases  the  discrepancy  can  be  ignored.  In  this  case  this  fact  but 
serves  to  decrease  the  excess  of  females,  as  these  other  groups  have  an 
excess  of  males.  The  city  of  Philadelphia  has  1003  Chinese,  Japanese 


54 


Size,  Age  and  Sex. 


[Chap.  V. 


COLORED*  POPULATION  OF  TEN  CITIES  BY  Sax. 


Cities. 

Males. 

Females. 

-1^,831 

41,866 

28,936 

35,727 

29,165 

38,131 

18,960 

21,414 

I4,2l6 

18,138 

13,334 

16,061 

13,333 

15,396 

Charleston   S   C                            •   •           •    • 

14,187 

16,849 

St   Louis            ...                        .            .... 

13,247 

I3,8l9 

IvOuisville,  Ky.            

13,348 

15,324 

Total   

192,557 

232,725 

Proportion    

I,OOO 

1208.5 

*  Includes  Chinese,   Japanese  and  civilized  Indians — an  element  that    can  be 
ignored,  "being  small. 

This  is  a  very  marked  excess  and  lias  far-reaching  effects. 
In  Philadelphia  this  excess  can  be  traced  back  some  years  : 
PHILADELPHIA  NEGROES  BY  SEX.  * 


County  of  Philadelphia. 

City  of  Philadelphia. 

Year. 

Males. 

Females. 

Number 
Females 
to  1000 
Males. 

Year. 

Males. 

Females. 

Number 
Females 
to  roco 
Males. 

1820 
1838 
1840 
1850 
1890 

5,220 
6,896 
S,3^ 

6,671 
9,146 
11,515 

1,091 
1,326 
1,387 

1820 
1838 
1840 
1850 
1890 

3,156 
3,772 
3,986 

8,435 
18,960 

4,426 
5,304 
6,521 
11,326 
21,414 

I,3S3 
1,395 
1,630 
1,348 
1,127 

The  cause  of  this  excess  is  easy  to  explain.     From  the 
beginning  the  industrial  opportunities  of  Negro  women  in 

and  Indians.    The  figures  for  the  whole  United  States  show  that  this 
excess  of  females  is  probably  confined  to  cities  : 

NEGKOES  ACCORDING  TO  SEX. 


SECTION. 

MALES. 

FEMALES. 

United  States     

3.72s;.  561 

3,744,479 

North  Atlantic          ... 

I  -2  -1.277 

116  620 

South  Atlantic      

I  6l^.76Q 

1.64.8  Q2I 

North  Central    

222,384 

208,728 

South  Central     

1,7-^9,565 

1,739,686 

Western 

1  6  566 

IO  5K 

*  Figures  for  other  years  have  not  been  found. 


Sect  1 3.]  The  City  for  a  Century.  55 

cities  have  been  far  greater  than  those  of  men,  through  their 
large  employment  in  domestic  service.  At  the  same  time  the 
restriction  of  employments  open  to  Negroes,  which  per 
haps  reached  a  climax  in  1830-1840,  and  which  still  plays 
a  great  part,  has  served  to  limit  the  number  of  men.  The 
proportion,  therefore,  of  men  to  women  is  a  rough  index 
of  the  industrial  opportunities  of  the  Negro.  At  first  there 
was  a  large  amount  of  work  for  all,  and  the  Negro  ser 
vants  and  laborers  and  artisans  poured  into  the  city.  This 
lasted  up  until  about  1820,  and  at  that  time  we  find  the 
number  of  the  sexes  approaching  equality  in  the  county, 
although  naturally  more  unequal  in  the  city  proper.  In 
the  next  two  decades  the  opportunities  for  work  were 
greatly  restricted  for  the  men,  while  at  the  same  time, 
through  the  growth  of  the  city,  the  demand  for  female 
servants  increased,  so  that  in  1840  we  have  about  seven 
women  to  every  five  men  in  the  county,  and  sixteen  to 
every  five  in  the  city.  Industrial  opportunities  for  men  then 
gradually  increased  largely  through  the  growth  of  the  city, 
the  development  of  new  callings  for  Negroes  and  the  in 
creased  demand  for  male  servants  in  public  and  private. 
Nevertheless  the  disproportion  still  indicates  an  unhealthy 
condition,  and  its  effects  are  seen  in  a  large  percent  of 
illegitimate  births,  and  an  unhealthy  tone  in  much  of  the 
social  intercourse  among  the  middle  class  of  the  Negro 
population.5 

Looking  now  at  the  age  structure  of  the  Negroes,  we 
notice  the  disproportionate  number  of  young  persons,  that 
is,  women  between  eighteen  and  thirty  and  men  between 
twenty  and  thirty-five.  The  colored  population  of  Phila 
delphia  contains  an  abnormal  number  of  young  untrained 
persons  at  the  most  impressionable  age ;  at  the  age  when, 


5  In  social  gatherings,  in  the  churches,  etc.,  men  are  always  at  a 
premium,  and  this  very  often  leads  to  lowering  the  standard  of  admission 
to  certain  circles,  and  often  give's  one  the  impression  that  the  social  level 
of  the  women  is  higher  than  the  level  of  the  men. 


Size,  Age  and  Sex. 


[Chap.  V. 


as  statistics  of  the  world  show,  the  most  crime  is  committed, 
when  sexual  excess  is  more  frequent,  and  when  there  has 
not  been  developed  fully  the  feeling  of  responsibility  and 
personal  worth.  This  excess  is  more  striking  in  recent 
years  than  formerly,  although  full  statistics  are  not 
available : 


Proportion  of  Population. 

1848. 

1880. 

1890.* 

14.7 

9.8 

7-8 

33-6 

22.5 

41.8 

63.6f 

Over  50  years     

9-9 

6.  it 

*  Including1  Chinese,  Japanese  and  Indians.    1 15  to  55.    \  Over  55. 

This  table  is  too  meagre  to  be  conclusive,  but  it  is  proba 
ble  that  while  the  age  structure  of  the  Negro  urban  popu 
lation  in  1848  was  about  normal,  it  has  greatly  changed  in 
recent  years.  Detailed  statistics  for  1890  make  this 
plainer : 

NEGROES*  OF  PHILADELPHIA  BY  SEX  AND  AGE,  1890. 


Ages. 

Males. 

Per  Cent. 

Females. 

Per  Cent. 

Total. 

Under  I                ... 

400 

2.1 

369 

J-7 

769 

T  to  d.    

1,121 

5.9 

1,264 

5-9 

2,385 

1,458 

7.7 

1,515 

'7.1 

2,973 

10  to  14  

1,409 

7-5 

*>567 

7.4 

2,976 

TC  to  IQ      

2,455 

7-7 

2,123 

9-9 

3,578 

20  to  24  

2,408 

12.9 

3.133 

14.8 

5,541 

i.">2i 

15.5 

2,774 

13.1 

5,295 

2,034 

10.9 

2,046 

9.6 

4,080 

7C  to  Ad.  

3,375 

18.0 

3,139 

14.8 

6,5J4 

a«?  to  ^4.  

1,645 

8.7 

1,783 

8.4 

3,428 

re  to  64                  .... 

581 

3.1 

799 

3*9 

1,380 

65  and  over     .... 

0  ^ 
376 

2.O 

*'l- 
726 

3.4 

I,IO2 

177 

176 

3  S3 

Total  

18,960 

100.0 

21,414 

IOO.O 

40,374 

*  Includes  1003  Chinese,  Japanese  and  Indians. 

Comparing  this  with  the  age  structure  of  other  groups 
we  have  this  table  : 6 


6 The  age  groupings  in  these  tables  are  necessarily  unsatisfactory  on 
account  of  the  vagaries  of  the  census. 


Sect.  13.] 


The  City  for  a  Century. 


57 


Age. 

Negroes  of 
Fhilad'a. 

Negroes 
U.S. 

England. 

France. 

Germany. 

United 
States. 

Under  10  . 
10  to  20  .  . 
20  to  30  .  . 
30  and  over 

I5-3I 
16.37 
27.08 
41.24 

28.22 

25.19 
17.40 
29.19 

23.9 
21-3 
17.02 

37-6 

17-5 
17.4 
16.3 
48.8 

24.2 
20.7 
16.2 

38.9 

24.29 
21.70 
18.24 

35-77 

In  few  large  cities  does  the  age  structure  approach  the 
abnormal  condition  here  presented  ;  the  most  obvious  com 
parison  would  be  with  the  age  structure  of  the  whites  of 
Philadelphia,  for  1890,  which  may  be  thus  represented  : 


NEGRO 

MALES  ACES 


FEMALES 


WHITE    .8. 
MALES          AGJES          FEMALES 


We  find  then  in  Philadelphia  a  steadily  and,  in  recent 
years,  rapidly  growing  Negro  population,  in  itself  as  large 
as  a  good-sized  city,  and  characterized  by  an  excessive 
number  of  females  and  of  young  persons. 


58  Size,  Age  and  Sex.  [Chap.  V. 

14.  The  Seventh  Ward,  1896. — We  shall  now  make  a 
more  intensive  study  of  the  Negro  population,  confining 
ourselves  to  one  typical  ward  for  the  year  1896.  Of 
the  nearly  forty  thousand  Negroes  in  Philadelphia  in  1890, 
a  little  less  than  a  fourth  lived  in  the  Seventh  Ward,  and 
over  half  in  this  and  the  adjoining  Fourth,  Fifth  and 
Eighth  Wards : 


Ward. 

Negroes. 

Whites. 

Seventh.  ...       .... 

886l 

21    IT7 

Eighth    

^.OII 

I1*  QAO 

Fourth                                  .               .    .           .    . 

2  ^7** 

17  *7Q2 

Fifth    

2,335 

-1/)  /y<* 
14,619 

The  distribution  of  Negroes  in  the  other  wards  may  be 
seen  by  the  accompanying  map.  (See  opposite  page.) 

The  Seventh  Ward  starts  from  the  historic  centre  of 
Negro  settlement  in  the  city,  Sbuth  Seventh  street  and 
Lombard,  and  includes  the  long  narrow  strip,  beginning  at 
South  Seventh  and  extending  west,  with  South  and  Spruce 
streets  as  boundaries,  as  far  as  the  Schuylkill  River.  The 
colored  population  of  this  ward  numbered  3621  in  1860, 
4616  in  1870,  and  8861  in  1890.  It  is  a  thickly  populated 
district  of  varying  character ;  north  of  it  is  the  residence 
and  business  section  of  the  city ;  south  of  it  a  middle 
class  and  workingmen's  residence  section  ;  at  the  east  end 
it  joins  Negro,  Italian  and  Jewish  slums  ;  at  the  west  end, 
the  wharves  of  the  river  and  an  industrial  section  separat 
ing  it  from  the  grounds  of  the  University  of  Pennsylvania 
and  the  residence  section  of  West  Philadelphia. 

Starting  at  Seventh  street  and  walking  along  Lombard, 
let  us  glance  at  the  general  character  of  the  ward.  Pausing 
a  moment  at  the  corner  of  Seventh  and  Lombard,  we  can 
at  a  glance  view  the  worst  Negro  slums  of  the  city.  The 
houses  are  mostly  brick,  some  wood,  not  very  old,  and  in 
general  uncared  for  rather  than  dilapidated.  The  blocks 
between  Eighth,  Pine,  Sixth  and  South  have  for  many 
decades  been  the  centre  of  Negro  population.  Here 


Sect  14.] 


The  Seventh  Ward,  1896. 


59 


the  riots  of  the  thirties  took  place,  and  here  once  was  a 
depth  of  poverty  and  degradation  almost  unbelievable. 
Even  to-day  there  are  many  evidences  of  degradation, 


although  the  signs  of  idleness,  shiftlessness,  dissoluteness 
and  crime  are  more  conspicuous  than  those  of  poverty. 


60  Sisey  Age  and  Sex.  [Chap.  V. 

The  alleys7  near,  as  Ratcliffe  street,  Middle  alley,  Brown's 
court,  Barclay  street,  etc.,  are  haunts  of  noted  criminals, 
male  and  female,  of  gamblers  and  prostitutes,  and  at  the 
same  time  of  many  poverty-stricken  people,  decent  but  not 
energetic.  There  is  an  abundance  of  political  clubs,  and 
nearly  all  the  houses  are  practically  lodging  houses,  with 
a  miscellaneous  and  shifting  population.  The  corners, 
night  and  day,  are  filled  with  Negro  loafers — able-bodied 
young  men  and  women,  all  cheerful,  some  with  good- 
natured,  open  faces,  some  with  traces  of  crime  and  excess, 
a  few  pinched  with  poverty.  They  are  mostly  gamblers, 
thieves  and  prostitutes,  and  few  have  fixed  and  steady 
occupation  of  any  kind.  Some  are  stevedores,  porters, 
laborers  and  laundresses.  On  its  face  this  slum  is  noisy 
and  dissipated,  but  not  brutal,  although  now  and  then 
highway  robberies  and  murderous  assaults  in  other  parts 
of  the  city  are  traced  to  its  denizens.  Nevertheless  the 
stranger  can  iisually  walk  about  here  day  and  night  with 
little  fear  of  being  molested,  if  he  be  not  too  inquisitive.8 
Passing  up  Lombard,  beyond  Eighth,  the  atmosphere 
suddenly  changes,  because  these  next  two  blocks  have  few 
alleys  and  the  residences  are  good-sized  and  pleasant. 
Here  some  of  the  best  Negro  families  of  the  ward  live. 
Some  are  wealthy  in  a  small  way,  nearly  all  are  Philadel 
phia  born,  and  they  represent  an  early  wave  of  emigration 
from  the  old  slum  section.9  To  the  south,  on  Rodman 


7  "In  the  Fifth  Ward  only  there  are  171  small  streets  and  courts; 
Fourth  Ward,  88.     Between  Fifth  and  Sixth,  South  and  Lombard  streets, 
15   courts  and   alleys.* '      "  First    Annual    Report    College    Settlement 
Kitchen."  p.  6. 

8  In  a  residence  of  eleven  months  in  the  centre  of  the  slums,  I  never 
was  once  accosted  or  insulted.    The  ladies  of  the  College  Settlement 
report  similar  experience.     I  have  seen,  however,  some  strangers  here 
roughly  handled. 

9  It  is  often  asked  why  do  so  many  Negroes  persist  in  living  in  the 
slums.     The  answer  is,  they  do  not;  the  slum  is  continually  scaling  off 
emigrants  for  other  sections,  and  receiving  new  accretions  from  without. 
Thus  the  efforts  for  social  betterment  put  forth  here  have  often  their  best 


The    Seventh  Ward  of  Philadelphia 

The  Distribution  of  Negro  Inhabitants  Throughout  the  Ward, 
and  their  social  condition 


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(continued) 


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Grade  4:   Vicious  and  Criminal  Classes. 

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Residences  of  Whites,  Stores,  Public  Buildings,- etc. 


Sect.  14.]  The  Seventh  Ward,  1896.  61 

street,  are  families  of  the  same  character.  North  of 
Pine  and  below  Eleventh  there  are  practically  no  Negro 
residences.  Beyond  Tenth  street,  and  as  far  as  Broad 
street,  the  Negro  population  is  large  and  varied  in  char 
acter.  On  small  streets  like  Barclay  and  its  extension  below 
Tenth — Souder,  on  Ivy,  Rodman,  Salem,  Heins,  Isemin- 
ger,  Ralston,  etc.,  is  a  curious  mingling  of  respectable 
working  people  and  some  of  a  better  class,  with  recent 
immigrations  of  the  semi-criminal  class  from  the  slums. 
On  the  larger  streets,  like  Lombard  and  Juniper,  there  live 
many  respectable  colored  families — native  Philadelphians, 
Virginians  and  other  Southerners,  with  a  fringe  of  more 
questionable  families.  Beyond  Broad,  as  far  as  Sixteenth, 
the  good  character  of  the  Negro  population  is  maintained 
except  in  one  or  two  back  streets,10  From  Sixteenth  to 
Eighteenth,  intermingled  with  some  estimable  families,  is 
a  dangerous  criminal  class.  They  are  not  the  low,  open 
idlers  of  Seventh  and  Lombard,  but  rather  the  graduates  of 
that  school :  shrewd  and  sleek  politicians,  gamblers  and 
confidence  men,  with  a  class  of  well-dressed  and  partially 
undetected  prostitutes.  This  class  is  not  easily  differen 
tiated  and  located,  but  it  seems  to  centre  at  Seventeenth 
and  Lombard.  Several  large  gambling  houses  are  near 
here,  although  more  recently  one  has  moved  below  Broad, 
indicating  a  reshifting  of  the  criminal  centre.  The  whole 
community  was  an  earlier  immigration  from  Seventh  and 
Lombard.  North  of  Lombard,  above  Seventeenth,  includ 
ing  Lombard  street  itself,  above  Eighteenth,  is  one  of  the 
best  Negro  residence  sections  of  the  city,  centring  about 
Addison  street.  Some  undesirable  elements  have  crept  in 
even  here,  especially  since  the  Christian  League  attempted  to 

results  elsewhere*  since  the  beneficiaries  move  away  and  others  fill  their 
places.  There  is,  of  course,  a  permanent  nucleus  of  inhabitants,  and 
these,  in  some  cases,  are  really  respectable  and  decent  people.  The 
forces  that  keep  such  a  class  in  the  slums  are  discussed  further  on. 

10  Gulielma  street,  for  instance,  is  a  notorious  nest  for  bad  characters, 
with  only  one  or  two  respectable  families. 


62  Size,  Age  and  Sex.  [Chap.  V. 

clear  out  the  Fifth  Ward  slums,11  but  still  it  remains  a  centre 
of  quiet,  respectable  families,  who  own  their  own  homes 
and  live  well.  The  Negro  population  practically  stops  at 
Twenty-second  street,  although  a  few  Negroes  live  beyond. 

We  can  thus  see  that  the  Seventh  Ward  presents  an  epit 
ome  of  nearly  all  the  Negro  problems  ;  that  every  class  is 
represented,  and  varying  conditions  of  life.  Nevertheless 
one  must  naturally  be  careful  not  to  draw  too  broad  con 
clusions  from  a  single  ward  in  one  city.  There  is  no  proof 
that  the  proportion  between  the  good  and  the  bad  here  is 
normal,  even  for  the  race  in  Philadelphia  ;  that  the  social 
problems  affecting  Negroes  in  large  Northern  cities  are 
presented  here  in  most  of  their  aspects  seems  credible,  but 
that  certain  of  those  aspects  are  distorted  and  exaggerated 
by  local  peculiarities  is  also  not  to  be  doubted. 

In  the  fall  of  1896  a,  house-to-house  visitation  was  made 
to  all  the  Negro  families  of  this  ward.  The  visitor  went 
in  person  to  each  residence  and  called  for  the  head  of  the 
family.  The  housewife  usually  responded,  the  husband 
now  and  then,  and  sometimes  an  older  daughter  or  other 
member  of  the  family.  The  fact  that  the  University  was 
making  an  investigation  of  this  character  was  known  and 
discussed  in  the  ward,  but  its  exact  scope  and  character  was 
not  known.  The  mere  announcement  of  the  purpose 
secured,  in  all  but  about  twelve  cases,12  immediate  admis 
sion.  Seated  then  in  the  parlor,  kitchen,  or  living  room, 

11  The  almost  universal  and  unsolicited  testimony  of  better  class 
Negroes  was  that  the  attempted  clearing  out  of  the  slums  of  the  Fifth 
Ward  acted  disastrously  upon  them;  the  prostitutes  and  gamblers  emi 
grated  to  respectable  Negro  residence  districts,  and  real  estate  agents,  on 
the  theory  that  all  Negroes  belong  to  the  same  general  class,  rented  them 
houses.  Streets  like  Rodman  and  Juniper  were  nearly  ruined,  and  pro 
perty  which  the  thrifty  Negroes  had  bought  here  greatly  depreciated,  It 
is  not  well  to  clean  a  cess-pool  until  one  knows  where  the  refuse  can  be 
disposed  of  without  general  harm. 

«The  majority  of  these  were  brothels.  A  few,  however,  were  homes 
of  respectable  people  who  -esented  the  investigation  as  unwarranted  and 
unnecessary. 


Sect.  14.]  The  Seventh  Ward,  1896.  63 

the  visitor  began  the  questioning,  using  his  discretion  as  to 
the  order  in  which  they  were  put,  and  omitting  or  adding 
questions  as  the  circumstances  suggested.  Now  and  then 
the  purpose  of  a  particular  query  was  explained,  and  usually 
the  object  of  the  whole  inquiry  indicated.  General  discus 
sions  often  arose  as  to  the  condition  of  the  Negroes,  which 
were  instructive.  From  ten  minutes  to  an  hour  was  spent  in 
each  home,  the  average  time  being  fifteen  to  twenty-five 
minutes. 

Usually  the  answers  were  prompt  and  candid,  and  gave 
no  suspicion  of  previous  preparation.  In  some  cases 
there  was  evident  falsification  or  evasion.  In  such  cases 
the  visitor  made  free  use  of  his  best  judgment  and  either 
inserted  no  answer  at  all,  or  one  which  seemed  approxi 
mately  true.  In  some  cases  the  families  visited  were  not  at 
home,  and  a  second  or  third  visit  was  paid.  In  other  cases, 
and  especially  in  the  case  of  the  large  class  of  lodgers,  the 
testimony  of  landlords  and  neighbors  often  had  to  be  taken. 

No  one  can  make  an  inquiry  of  this  sort  and  not  be 
painfully  conscious  of  a  large  margin  of  error  from  omis 
sions,  errors  of  judgment  and  deliberate  deception.  Of 
such  errors  this  study  has,  without  doubt,  its  full  share. 
Only  one  fact  was  peculiarly  favorable  and  that  is  the 
proverbial  good  nature  and  candor  of  the  Negro.  With 
a  more  cautious  and  suspicious  people  much  less  success 
could  have  been  obtained.  Naturally  some  questions  were 
answered  better  than  others  ;  the  chief  difficulty  arising  in 
regard  to  the  questions  of  age  and  income.  The  ages 
given  for  people  forty  and  over  have  a  large  margin  of 
error,  owing  to  ignorance  of  the  real  birthday.  The  ques 
tion  of  income  was  naturally  a  delicate  one,  and  often  had 
to  be  gotten  at  indirectly.  The  yearly  income,  as  a  round 
sum,  was  seldom  asked  for ;  rather  the  daily  or  weekly 
wages  taken  and  the  time  employed  during  the  year. 

On  December  i,  1896,  there  were  in  the  Seventh  Ward 
of  Philadelphia  9675  Negroes;  4501  males  and  5174 


Size,  Age  and  Sex. 


[Chap.  V. 


females.     This  total  includes  all  persons  of  Negro  descent, 

and  thirty-three  intermarried  whites.13     It  does  not  include 

NEGRO  POPULATION  OF  SEVENTH  WARD. 


Age. 

Male. 

Female. 

57° 

641 

483 

675 

1,276 

1,444 

1,046 

1,084 

553 

632 

298 

33^ 

114 

155 

41 

96 

Age  unknown  

120 

116 

Total  

4,501 

5.174 

Grand  total 9>675 

residents  of  the  ward  then  in  prisons  or  in  almshouses. 
There  were  a  considerable  number  of  omissions  among-  the 
loafers  and  criminals  without  homes,  the  class  of  lodgers 
and  the  club-house  habitues.  These  were  mostly  males, 
and  their  inclusion  would  somewhat  affect  the  division  by 
sexes,  although  probably  not  to  a  great  extent.14  The 
increase  of  the  Negro  population  in  this  ward  for  six  and  a 
half  years  is  814,  or  at  the  rate  of  14.13  per  cent  per  decade. 
This  is  perhaps  somewhat  smaller  than  that  for  the  popula 
tion  of  the  city  at  large,  for  the  Seventh  Ward  is  crowded  and 
overflowing  into  other  wards.  Possibly  the  present  Negro 
population  of  the  city  is  between  43,000  and  45,000.  At 
all  events  it  is  probable  that  the  crest  of  the  tide  of  immi 
gration  is  passed,  and  that  the  increase  for  the  decade  1890 
-1900  will  not  be  nearly  as  large  as  the  24  per  cent  of  the 
decade  1880-1890. 


13  Twenty-nine  women  and  four  men.  The  question  of  race  inter 
marriage  is  discussed  in  Chapter  XIV, 

"There  may  have  been  some  duplication  in  the  counting  of  servant 
girls  who  do  not  lodge  where  they  work.  Special  pains  was  taken  to 
count  them  only  where  they  lodge,  but  there  must  have  been  some  errors. 
Again,  the  Seventh  Ward  has  a  very  large  number  of  lodgers;  some  of 
these  form  a  sort  of  floating  population,  and  here  were  omissions;  some 
were  forgotten  by  landladies  and  others  purposely  omitted. 


Sect.  14.] 


The  Seventh  Ward,  1896. 


The  division  by  sex  indicates  still  a  very  large  and,  it 
would  seem,  growing  excess  of  women.  The  return  shows 
1150  females  to  every  1000  males.  Possibly  through 
the  omission  of  men  and  the  unavoidable  duplication  of 
some  servants  lodging  away  from  their  place  of  service, 
the  disproportion  of  the  sexes  is  exaggerated.  At  any  rate 
it  is  great,  and  if  growing,  may  be  an  indication  of  increased 
restriction  in  the  employments  open  to  Negro  men  since 
1880  or  even  since  1890. 

The  age  structure  also  presents  abnormal  features.16 
Comparing  the  age  structure  with  that  of  the  large  cities 
of  Germany,  we  have  : 


Age. 

Negroes  of 
Philadelphia. 

Large  Cities 
of  Germany. 

25  I 

^Q  ^ 

CT    7 

^7.2 

Over  40  

0A-0 

23.6 

23-5 

Comparing  it  with  the  Whites  and  Negroes  in  the  city 
in  1890,  we  have  : 


Age. 

Negroes  of 
Philadelphia, 
1896, 
Seventh  Ward. 

Negroes* 
of 
Philadelphia, 
1890. 

Native  Whites 
of 
Philadelphia, 
1890. 

Tinder  10    

12.8$ 

I5-3J$ 

24.6$ 

12.3 

16.37 

19.5 

28.| 

27.08 

18.5 

30  and  over  

46.2 

41.24 

37-4 

*Includes  1003  Chinese,  Japanese  and  Indians. 

As  was  noticed  in  the  whole  city  in  1890,  so  here  is  even 
more  striking  evidence  of  the  preponderance  of  young  peo 
ple  at  an  age  when  sudden  introduction  to  city  life  is  apt 
to  be  dangerous,  and  of  an  abnormal  excess  of  females. 

15  There  is  a  wide  margin  of  error  in  the  matter  of  Negroes'  ages,  espe 
cially  of  those  above  fifty;  even  of  those  from  thirty-five  to  fifty,  the  age 
is  often  unrecorded  and  is  a  matter  of  memory,  and  poor  memory  at  that. 
Much  pains  was  taken  during  the  canvass  to  correct  errors  and  to  throw 
out  obviously  incorrect  answers.  The  error  in  the  ages  under  forty  is 
probably  not  large  enough  to  invalidate  the  general  conclusions;  those 
under  thirty  are  as  correct  as  is  general  in  such  statistics,  although  the 


CHAPTER  VI. 

CONJUGAL,   CONDITION. 

15.  The  Seventh  Ward. — The  conjugal  condition  of 
the  Negroes  above  fifteen  years  of  age  living  in  the  Seventh 
Ward  is  as  follows  :x 


Conjugal  Condition. 

Males. 

Per  Cent. 

Females. 

Percent. 

Single      

1,482 

41.4 

1,240 

30.5 

1,876 

C2  *\ 

I  Ql8 

4.7  I 

200 

\  V 

8<1I 

•> 

Permanently  separated  .... 

18 

I    6-1 

66 

{•     22.4 

Total                   

^.^76 

IOO  O 

406^ 

IOO  O 

12^ 

J7Q 

Under  15     ..               .    .       .    . 

800 

Q7Q 

Total  population  

4,50T 

.    .   . 

5,174 

.  .  . 

For  a  people  comparatively  low  in  the  scale  of  civiliza 
tion  there  is  a  large  proportion  of  single  men — more  than 
in  Great  Britain,  France  or  Germany  ;  the  number  of  mar 
ried  women,  too,  is  small,  while  the  large  number  of  wid 
owed  and  separated  indicates  widespread  and  early  breaking 


ages  of  children  under  ten  is  liable  to  err  a  year  or  so  from  the  truth. 
Many  women  have  probably  understated  their  ages  and  somewhat 
swelled  the  period  of  the  thirties  as  against  the  forties.  The  ages  over 
fifty  have  a  large  element  of  error. 

1  There  are  many  sources  of  error  in  these  returns:  it  was  found  that 
widows  usually  at  first  answered  the  question  "  Are  you  married  ?  M  in 
the  negative,  and  the  truth  had  to  be  ascertained  by  a  second  question; 
unfortunate  women  and  questionable  characters  generally  reported 
themselves  as  married;  divorced  or  separated  persons  called  themselves 
widowed.  Such  of  these  errors  as  were  made  through  misapprehension, 
were  often  corrected  by  additional  questions;  in  case  of  designed  decep 
tion  the  answer  was  naturally  thrown  out  if  the  deception  was  detected, 
which  of  course  happened  in  few  cases.  The  net  result  of  these  errors  is 
difficult  to  ascertain:  certainly  they  increase  the  apparent  number  of  the 
truly  widowed  to  some  extent  at  the  expense  of  the  single  and  married. 

(66) 


Sect.  15.]  The  Seventh  Ward.  67 

tip  of  family  life.2  The  number  of  single  women  is 
probably  lessened  by  unfortunate  girls,  and  increased  some 
what  by  deserted  wives  who  report  themselves  as  single. 
The  number  of  deserted  wives,  however,  allowing  for  false 
reports,  is  astoundingly  large  and  presents  many  intricate 
problems.  A  very  large  part  of  charity  given  to  Negroes 
is  asked  for  this  reason.  The  causes  of  desertion  are  partly 
laxity  in  morals  and  partly  the  difficulty  of  supporting  a 
family. 

The  lax  moral  habits  of  the  slave  regime  still  show 
themselves  in  a  large  amount  of  cohabitation  without  mar 
riage.  In  the  slum  districts  there  are  many  such  families, 
which  remain  together  years  and  are  in  effect  common  law 
marriages.  Some  of  these  connections  are  broken  by 
whim  or  desire,  although  in  many  cases  they  are  permanent 
unions. 

The  economic  difficulties  arise  continually  among 
young  waiters  and  servant  girls  ;  away  from  home  and 
oppressed  by  the  peculiar  lonesomeness  of  a  great  city, 
they  form  chance  acquaintances  here  and  there,  thought 
lessly  marry  and  soon  find  that  the  husband's  income 
cannot  alone  support  a  family  ;  then  comes  a  struggle 
which  generally  results  in  the  wife's  turning  laundress, 
but  often  results  in  desertion  or  voluntary  separation. 

The  great  number  of  widows  is  noticeable.  The  condi 
tions  of  life  for  men  are  much  harder  than  for  women  and 
they  have  consequently  a  much  higher  death  rate.  Unac 
knowledged  desertion  and  separation  also  increases  this 
total.  Then,  too,  a  large  number  of  these  widows  are 


2  The  number  of  actually  divorced  persons  among  the  Negroes  is 
naturally  insignificant;  on  the  other  hand  the  permanent  separations  are 
large  in  number  and  an  attempt  has  been  made  to  count  them.  They  do 
not  exactly  correspond  to  the  divorce  column  of  ordinary  statistics  and 
therefore  take  something  from  the  married  column.  The  number  of 
widowed  is  probably  exaggerated  somewhat,  but  even  allowing  for  errors, 
the  true  figure  is  high.  The  markedly  higher  death  rate  for  males  has 
much  to  do  with  this.  Cf.  Chapter  X. 


68 


Conjugal  Condition. 


[Chap.  VI. 


simply  unmarried  mothers  and  thus  represent  the  unchastity 
of  a  large  number  of  women.3 

The  result  of  this  large  number  of  homes  without  hus 
bands  is  to  increase  the  burden  of  charity  and  benevolence, 
and  also  on  account  of  their  poor  home  life  to  increase 
crime.  Here  is  a  wide  field  for  social  regeneration. 

Separating  the  sexes  by  age  periods  according  to  conjugal 
condition  we  have  these  tables : 

MALES. 


70  and 

Unk. 

Conjugal  Condition. 

15-19. 

20-29. 

30-39- 

40-49. 

5°-59- 

60-69. 

over. 

Age. 

Single    
Married    .... 

250 

2 

783 

474 

298 
681 

90 
396 

23 

212 

6 

79 

2 

17 

2O 
15 

"Widowed        .    . 

7 

43 

53 

42 

30 

21 

4 

Separated    .    .    - 

3 

9 

5 

I 

.   . 

*    • 

FEMALES. 


Conjugal  Condition. 

15-19. 

20-29. 

30-39- 

40-49. 

50-59- 

60-69 

70  and 
over. 

Unk. 
Age. 

Single  
Married    .... 

337 
35 

559 

754 

222 

633 

68 
3^6 

32 

no 

9 
34 

3 
4 

10 
22 

Widowed  .... 

47 

192 

217 

179 

in 

88 

9 

Separated        -    . 

23 

22 

12 

5 

i 

i 

2 

When  we  remember  that  in  slavery-time  slaves  usually 
began  to  cohabit  at  an  early  age,  these  figures  indicate 
the  sudden  and  somewhat  disastrous  application  of  the 
preventive  check  to  population  through  the  economic  stress 
of  life  in  large  cities.  Negro  girls  no  longer  marry  in 
their  'teens  as  their  mothers  and  grandmothers  did.  Of 
those  in  the  twenties  over  40  per  cent  are  still  unmarried, 
and  of  those  in  the  thirties  21  per  cent.  So  sudden  a 
change  in  marriage  customs  means  grave  dangers,  as  shown 
by  the  fact  that  forty-five  of  the  married  couples  under 
forty  were  permanently  separated  and  239  women  were 
widowed. 


3  Unfortunately  Philadelphia  has  no  reliable  registration  of  births,  and 
the  illegitimate  birth  rate  of  Negroes  cannot  be  ascertained.  This  is 
probably  high  judging  from  other  conditions. 


Sect.  15.] 


The  Seventh  Ward. 


69 


If  we  reduce  the  general  conjugal  condition  to  per  cents, 
we  have  this  table  : 

MEN. 


Conjugal  Condition. 

15-40- 

40-60. 

Over  60. 

Single    

1,333 
1,157 
50 

12 

% 
52.2 

45-3 

},5 

£i 

9i 

% 

13-7 
73-9 
}  12.4 

8 
96 

51 

% 
5-1 
62.0 

32.9 

Married     

Widowed  .    . 

Separated  • 

Total  

2,552 

100 

822 

100 

^55 

100 

Here  it  is  plain  that  although  a  large  per  cent  of  men 
under  forty  marry  there  is  nevertheless  a  number  who  wait 
until  they  are  settled  in  life  and  have  a  competence.  With 
the  mass  of  Negroes,  however,  the  waiting  past  the  fortieth 
year  means  simply  increased  caution  about  marriage ;  or, 
if  they  are  widowers,  about  remarriage.  Consequently 
while,  for  instance,  in  Germany  84.8  per  cent  of  the  men 
from  forty  to  sixty  are  married,  among  the  Negroes  of  this 
ward  less  than  74  per  cent  are  married.  At  the  same  time 
there  are  indications  of  a  large  number  of  broken  marriage 
ties.  Of  the  men  under  forty  the  bulk  marry  late,  that  is 
in  the  thirties : 


Conjugal  Condition. 

20-29. 

30-39. 

Single              •    •            •    •        

6i.8Jf 

29$ 

37-4 

66 

Separated  

I         "^ 

5 

Total  

100^ 

100% 

Turning  now  to  the  women,  we  have  a  table  in  which 


Conjugal 
Condition. 

15-40. 

40-60. 

Over  60. 

Number. 

Per  Cent. 

Number. 

Per  Cent. 

Number. 

Per  Cent. 

Single    .... 
Married     .   .   . 
Widowed  .    .   . 
Separated  .   .   • 

1,118 
1,422 
239 
45 

39-  6 
50-3 

|     10.  1 

IOO 
436 
J  396 
\     17 

10.5 
46.0 

}    43-5 

12 

33 

{I99 

4-9 
15-0 

}    80.  1 

Total  .... 

2,824 

IOO 

949 

IOO 

251 

IOO 

Conjugal  Condition. 


[Chap.  VI. 


the  noticeable  feature  is  the  extraordinary  number  of  wid 
owed  and  separated  persons,  indicating  economic  stress,  a 
high  death  rate  and  lax  morality.  Such  are  the  social 
results  of  a  large  excess  of  young  women  in  a  city  where 
young  men  cannot  afford  to  marry.  Of  the  women  below 
forty,  we  have  this  tabulation  : 


Conjugal  Condition. 

15-19. 

20-29. 

30-39. 

Single     

QO.6% 

4.0.4.$ 

20  8 

Married  ...       

Q.4. 

9.4 

S4.  S 

5Q  2 

Widowed  •   .              .    . 

Separated  .               ....... 

I     -° 

5-1 

20.  0 

The  comparatively  large  number  of  separations  is  here 
to  be  noticed,  and  the  fact  that  over  a  fifth  of  the  women 
between  thirty  and  forty  are  unmarried  and  40  per  cent 
are  without  husbands. 

From  all  these  statistics,  making  some  allowance  for  the 
small  number  of  persons  counted  and  the  peculiar 
conditions  of  the  ward,  we  may  conclude  : 

1.  That  a  tendency  to  much  later  marriage  than  under 
the  slave  system  is  revolutionizing  the  Negro  family  and 
incidentally  leading  to  much  irregularity. 

2.  There  is  nevertheless  still  the  temptation  for  young 
men  and  women   under   forty  to    enter  into   matrimony 
before  their  economic  condition  warrants  it. 

3.  Among  persons  over  forty  there  is  a  marked  tendency 
to  single  life. 

4.  The  very  large  number  of  the  widowed  and  separated 
points  to  grave  physical,  economic  and  moral  disorder. 

16.  The  City. — The  census  of  1890  showed  that  the 
conjugal  condition  of  Negroes  in  the  city  was  as  follows : 


Conjugal  Condition. 

Males  over  15 

Females  over  15 

Number. 

Per  Cent. 

Number 

Per  Cent. 

Single  

6,047 
7,042 
603 
15 

44.0 
51-3 
44 
•3 

6,267 
7,154 
3,073 
35 

37-8 

425 
18.6 
i.i 

Married  

Widowed    .   .                  ... 

Divorced     

Total    

13,707 

100 

16,534 

100 

Sect.  16.]  The  City.  71 

Similar  statistics  for  native  whites  with  native  parents 
for  the  city,  are : 


Conjugal  Condition. 

Males 
over  15. 

Females 
over  15. 

Single     

A.1  2  9?? 

18  o#» 

Married  

C2  n 

jo.uyo 

vtQ  O 

Widowed   

0-**u 
4.5 

4y.  u 

Tl   7 

Divorced    

•3 

-3 

Total  

100% 

100$ 

These  figures,  although  six  years  earlier,  for  the  most  part 
confirm  the  statistics  of  the  Seventh  Ward,  except  in  the 
statistics  of  separation.  In  this  respect  the  returns  for  the 
Seventh  Ward  are  probably  more  reliable,  as  the  census 
counted  only  actually  divorced  persons.  The  largest  dis 
crepancy  is  in  the  percentage  of  single  females  ;  this  prob 
ably  comes  from  the  fad  that  outside  the  Seventh  Ward 
the  single  servant  girls  form  a  large  part  of  the  Negro 
population.  On  the  whole  it  is  noticeable  that  the  conjugal 
condition  of  the  Negroes  approaches  so  nearly  that  of  the 
whites,  when  the  economic  and  social  history  of  the  two 
groups  has  been  so  strikingly  different. 

These  statistics  are  the  best  measurements  of  the  condi 
tion  and  tendencies  of  the  Negro  home  which  we  have, 
and  although  they  are  crude  and  difficult  in  some  cases 
rightly  to  interpret,  yet  they  shed  much  light  on  the 
problem.  First  it  must  be  remembered  that  the  Negro 
home  and  the  stable  marriage  state  is  for  the  mass  of  the 
colored  people  of  the  country  and  for  a  large  per  cent  of 
those  of  Philadelphia,  a  new  social  institution.  The  strictly 
guarded  savage  home  life  of  Africa,  which  with  all  its 
shortcomings  protected  womanhood,  was  broken  up  com 
pletely  by  the  slave  ship,  and  the  promiscuous  herding  of 
the  West  Indian  plantation  put  in  its  stead.  From  this 
evolved  the  Virginia  plantation  where  the  double  row  of 
little  slave  cabins  were  but  parts  of  a  communistic  pater 
nalism  centring  in  the  Big  House  which  was  the  real  centre 


JZ  Conjugal  Condition.  [Chap.  VI. 

of  the  family  life.  Even  in  Pennsylvania  where  the  plan 
tation  system  never  was  developed  the  slave  family  was 
dependent  in  morals  as  well  as  work  upon  the  master. 
With  emancipation  the  Negro  family  was  first  made  inde 
pendent  and  with  the  migration  to  cities  we  see  for  the  first 
time  the  thoroughly  independent  Negro  family.  On  the 
whole  it  is  a  more  successful  institution  than  we  had  a 
right  to  expect,  even  though  the  Negro  has  had  a  couple  of 
centuries  of  contact  with  some  phases  of  the  monogamic 
ideal.4  The  great  weakness  of  the  Negro  family  is  still 
lack  of  respect  for  the  marriage  bond,  inconsiderate 
entrance  into  it,  and  bad  household  economy  and  family 
government.  Sexual  looseness  then  arises  as  a  secondary 
consequence,  bringing  adultery  and  prostitution  in  its  train. 
And  these  results  come  largely  from  the  postponement  of 
marriage  among  the  young.  Such  are  the  fruits  of  sudden 
social  revolution.5 


4  And,  to  tell  the  truth,  contact  with  some  very  unsavory  phases  of  it. 

5  There  can  be  no  doubt  but  what  sexual  looseness  is  to-day  the  pre 
vailing  sin  of  the  mass  of  the  Negro  population,  and  that  its  prevalence 
can  be  traced  to  bad  home  life  in  most  cases.     Children  are  allowed  on 
the  street  night  and  day  unattended;  loose  talk  is  often  indulged  in;  the 
sin  is  seldom  if  ever  denounced  in  the  churches.     The  same  freedom  is 
allowed  the  poorly  trained  colored  girl  as  the  white  girl  who  has  come 
through  a  strict  home,  and  the  result  is  that  the  colored  girl  more  often 
falls.     Nothing  but  strict  home  life  can  avail  in  such  cases.     Of  course 
there  is  much  to  be  said  in  palliation:    the  Negress  is  not  respected  by 
men  as  white  girls  are,  and  consequently  has   no  such   general  social 
protection;    as    a    servant,    maid,    etc.,    she   has   peculiar    temptations; 
especially  the  whole  tendency  of  the  situation  of  the  Negro  is  to  kill  his 
self-respect  which  is  tbe  greatest  safeguard  of  female  chastity. 


CHAPTER  VII. 

SOURCES   OF   THE   NEGRO   POPULATION. 

17.  The  Seventh  Ward. — We  have  seen  that  there  is  in 
Philadelphia  a  large  population  of  Negroes,  largely  young 
unmarried  folks  with  a  disproportionate  number  of  women. 
The  question  now  arises,  whence  came  these  people  ?  How 
far  are  they  native  Philadelphians,  and  how  far  immigrants, 
and  if  the  latter,  how  long  have  they  been  here  ?  Much 
depends  on  the  answer  to  these  questions  ;  no  conclusions 
as  to  the  effects  of  Northern  city  conditions  on  Negroes,  as 
to  the  effects  of  long,  close  contact  with  modern  culture, 
as  to  the  general  question  of  social  and  economic  survival 
on  the  part  of  this  race,  can  be  intelligently  answered  until 
we  know  how  long  these  people  have  been  under  the 
influence  of  given  conditions,  and  how  they  were  trained 
before  they  came.1 

It  is  often  tacitly  assumed  that  the  Negroes  of  Philadel 
phia  are  one  homogeneous  mass,  and  that  the  slums  of  the 
Fifth  Ward,  for  instance,  are  one  of  the  results  of  long 
contact  with  Philadelphia  city  life  on  the  part  of  this 
mass.  There  is  just  enough  truth  and  falsehood  in  such  an 
assumption  to  make  it  dangerously  misleading.  The  slums 
of  Seventh  and  Lombard  streets  are  largely  the  results  of 
the  contact  of  the  Negro  with  city  life,  but  the  Negro  in 
question  is  a  changing  variable  quantity  and  has  felt  city 


1  The  chief  source  of  error  in  the  returns  as  to  birthplace  are  tlie 
answers  of  those  who  do  not  desire  to  report  their  birthplace  as  in  the 
South.  Naturally  there  is  considerable  social  distinction  between 
recently  arrived  Southerners  and  old  Philadelphians;  consequently  the 
tendency  is  to  give  a  Northern  birthplace.  For  this  reason  it  is  probable 
that  even  a  smaller  number  than  the  few  reported  were  really  born  in 
the  city. 

(73) 


74 


Sources  of  the  Negro  Population.    [Chap.  VII. 


influences  for  periods  varying  in  different  persons  from  one 
day  to  seventy  years.  A  generalization  then  that  includes 
a  North  Carolina  boy  who  has  migrated  to  the  city  for 
work  and  has  been  here  for  a  couple  of  months,  in  the 
same  class  with  a  descendant  of  several  generations  of 
Philadelphia  Negroes,  is  apt  to  make  serious  mistakes.  The 
first  lad  may  deserve  to  be  pitied  if  he  falls  into  dissipation 
and  crime,  the  second  ought  perhaps  to  be  condemned 
severely.  In  other  words  our  judgment  of  the  thousands 
of  Negroes  of  this  city  must  be  in  all  cases  considerably 
modified  by  a  knowledge  of  their  previous  history  and 
antecedents. 

Of  the  9675  Negroes  in  the  Seventh  Ward,  9138  gave 
returns  as  to  their  birthplace.     Of  these,  there  were  born  : 

In  Philadelphia  2939  or  32.1  per  cent. 

In  Pennsylvania, outside  of  Philadelphia  .   526  or    6.0        " 
In  the  New  England  and  Middle  States  .   485  or    5.3        " 

In  the  South 4980  or  54.3         " 

In  the  West  and  in  foreign  lands  .   ,   .   ,    208  or    2.3        " 

That  is  to  say,  less  than  one-third  of  the  Negroes  living 
in  this  ward  were  born  here,  and  over  one-half  were  born 
in  the  South.  Separating  them  by  sex  and  giving  their 
birthplaces  more  in  detail,  we  have : 

BIRTHPLACE  OF  NEGROES,  SEVENTH  WARD. 


Born  in 

Males 

Females. 

Total. 

Philadelphia                  ...                  .    . 

I  ^O7 

I  632 

2  Q3Q 

Pennsylvania,  outside  of  Philadelphia  .    . 
Virginia   ... 

231 

Q-3Q 

295 

I  OI2 

•*iyjy 

526 

I  Q^I 

Maryland        .... 

S^O 

7Q4 

I  ^Ad 

Delaware     ...                      .    .               .   . 

1  68 

W+ 
2Q6 

Af\A 

New  Jersey     .    .       .       .... 

T/1T 

IQO 

-J'J  T 

District  of  Columbia    

IA6 

165 

^11 

Other  parts,  and  undesignated  parts,  of  the 
South    

528 

l82 

QIO 

Other  New  England  and  Middle  States     . 
Western  States  

62 

28 

$04 

92 

27 

yiu 
154 
55 

Foreign  countries  .           .    . 

IIO 

AT. 

TC7 

Unknown    

2OI 

2A.6 

C-77 

Total       

4>5oi 

5,174 

9.675 

Sect.  17.] 


The  Seventh  Ward. 


75 


This  means  that  a  study  of  the  Philadelphia  Negroes 
would  properly  begin  in  Virginia  or  Maryland  and  that 
only  a  portion  have  had  the  opportunity  of  being  reared 
amid  the  advantages  of  a  great  city.  To  study  this  even 
more  minutely  let  us  divide  the  population  according  to 
age  periods : 

BIRTHPLACE  BY  AGE  PERIODS. 


Birthplace. 

0-9. 

10-20. 

21-30. 

31-40. 

Over 

40. 

Un 
known. 

Total. 

Philadelphia  

1.004. 

777 

CA2 

iRa 

7Q6 

TT 

2  Q7O 

Pennsylvania  
Virginia,       Maryland, 
New    Jersey,    Dela 
ware,  District  of  Co 
lumbia  

8 

117 

101 

52 
A.12 

Ou^ 

185 

T  ?6/l 

^°y 

110 
T  Trn 

3yu 
168 

Jooo 

3 
28 

^>7OV 

526 

4  JOT 

South  in  general  ,  .  . 
North   
West  

•*«j/ 
20 
II 
10 

*ij£ 

79 

12 

AjOuT- 

375 
45 

12 

H  GJ  Cn  O 
X>  O\v£>  C 

,uyu 

175 
48 

6 

2 
2 

,4ux 
910 

154 
cr 

Foreign  lands    .... 

2 
IQ 

2 
TO 

63 

1A1 

43 

TfiC 

42 
61 

I 

180 

00 
153 

C27 

A7 

A7 

j.q.4 

1U0 

°o 

ioy 

OO/ 

Total  

1,211 

1,342 

2,888 

2,010 

1,988 

236 

9,675 

That  the  Negro  immigration  to  the  city  is  not  an  influx 
of  whole  families  is  shown  by  the  fact  that  83  per  cent  of 
the  children  under  ten  were  born  in  Philadelphia.  Of  the 
youth  from  ten  to  twenty  about  one-half  were  born  in  the 
city*  The  great  influx  comes  in  the  years  from  twenty-one 
to  thirty,  for  of  these  but  17  per  cent  were  born  in  the 
city  ;  of  the  men  and  women  born  between  1856  and  1865, 
that  is,  in  war  time,  about  one-seventh  were  born  in  the 
city;  of  the  freedmen,  that  is  those  born  before  1856,  a 
larger  portion,  one-fifth,  were  born  in  Philadelphia.  The 
wave  of  immigration  may  therefore  be  thus  plotted  : 


Sources  of  the  Negro  Population.    [Chap.  VII. 


PERSONS          BORN 


SINCE 
1686 


1876-86  J866-I675  1856-1865  Befarel8S6 


THE  WAVE  OF  NEGRO  IMMIGRATION. 

The  square  represents  the  Negro  population  of  the 
Seventh  Ward,  divided  into  segments  according  to  age  by 
the  upright  lines  ;  the  shaded  portions  show  the  proportion 
of  immigrants. 

Further  detailed  information  as  to  birthplace  is  given  in 
the  next  table.  (See  pages  77  and  78.) 

Much  of  the  immigration  to  Philadelphia  is  indirect ; 
Negroes  come  from  country  districts  to  small  towns  ;  then  go 
to  larger  towns ;  eventually  they  drift  to  Norfolk,  Va.,  or 
to  Richmond.  Next  they  come  to  Washington,  and  finally 
settle  in  Baltimore  or  Philadelphia.2  The  training  they 
receive  from  such  wanderings  is  not  apt  to  improve  young 
persons  greatly,  and  the  custom  has  undoubtedly  helped  to 
swell  the  numbers  of  a  large  migratory  criminal  class  who 
are  often  looked  upon  as  the  product  of  particular  cities, 
when,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  they  are  the  offscourings  of 

2 Compare  "The  Negroes  of  Farmville:  A  Social  Study,"  in  Bulletin 
of  U.  S.  Labor  Bureau,  January,  1898. 


Sect.  17.] 


The  Seventh  Ward. 


77 


PHILADELPHIA— NEGROES  OF  SEVENTH  WARD,  1896. 
BIRTHPLACE— MALES  BY  FIVE  AGE  PERIODS. 


Section 

Place. 

0-9. 

10-20. 

21-30. 

31-40. 

Over 

40. 

Un 
known. 

City. 

Philadelphia  

486 

337 

208 

123 

151 

2 

State. 

Pennsylvania  .   . 

5 

20 

92 

49 

64 

I 

Neighboring 
States. 

New  Jersey  

10 

20 

*9 
6 

2 

14 
48 
48 

13 

12 

31 

164 
420 
55 

40 

42 
137 
268 
50 
42 

44 
176 
178 

22 

7^ 

O 

5 
6 
o 

i 

Maryland     

Virginia    .... 

District  of  Columbia     . 
Delaware  

6 

North  Carolina  .... 
South  Carolina  .... 
Georgia    

5 

0 
0 

I 
o 
o 
o 
o 
o 
o 
o 

0 

I 

21 

5 
o 
I 

0 
0 

o 
I 
I 
o 
o 
o 
5 

97 

22 

14 
II 

2 

o 

4 

13 

2 

9 
o 
I 
55 

63 
16 

5 
5 
o 

2 

I 

3 
4 
3 
o 

2 
50 

35 
II 

10 

i 

4 
o 

i 
4 
3 

2 
2 
O 
29 

o 
I 
o 
o 
o 
o 
o 
o 
o 
o 

0 

o 

0 

Florida  

Mississippi  

Louisiana     .... 

West  Virginia    .... 
Kentucky    

Tennessee    

Missouri  

Texas    

"  South  "     

•s^ 

fcSSo 

£bte« 

*^« 
d 

Massachusetts    .... 
Connecticut    

I 

2 

I 

0 
0 

2 

o 

4 

2 

o 

7 
I 

8 
i 

i 

I 
I 

5 
3 

i 

4 

2 

15 
O 
O 

o 

0 

o 
o 

0 

New  York    

Rhode  Island  

Maine       .   . 

\ 

Minnesota   

I 
o 

0 
0 
0 
0 

o 

o 
I 

4 
I 

0 

o 
o 

o 

0 

4 

0 
2 
0 
0 

o 
o 

5 

0 

2 
I 
2 

o 

0 

3 

0 
0 

o 

2 

0 
0 

o 
o 

0 

o 
o 

Nebraska  

Ohio  

Michigan     

Illinois  

California    

"West"  

Foreign 
Countries. 

West  Indies    
Canada  

o 

2 

o 
o 

0 

o 
o 
o 

o 
o 
o 
o 

0 

o 
o 
o 

37 
i 

3 

2 

I 
O 

o 
o 

30 
I 

I 
0 
0 
I 

I 
2 

24 

3 
o 
o 
o 

0 

o 

I 

0 

o 

0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 

Africa   

Portugal      ..... 

Mexico     

East  Indies  

Nova  Scotia    .   .    . 

South  America  .   .   .    . 

? 

Unknown    

8 

7 

87 

56 

25 

108 

Sources  of  the  Negro  Population.    [Chap.  VII. 

PHILADELPHIA— NEGROES  OF  SEVENTH  WARD,  1896. 
BIRTHPLACE — FEMALES  BY  FIVE  AGE  PERIODS. 


Section 

Place. 

0-9. 

10-20. 

21-30. 

31-40. 

Over 

40. 

Un 
known. 

City. 

Philadelphia  ..... 

5i3 

400 

294 

1  66 

245 

9 

State. 

3 

32 

93 

61 

104 

2 

Neighboring 
States. 

15 
16 

35 
13 
i 

19 
92 
129 

31 
26 

44 
254 

431 
69 

56 

52 
217 

242 
29 
7i 

58 
211 
169 
22 
139 

2 

4 
6 
i 
3 

District  of  Columbia    . 

£ 
I 

North  Carolina  .... 
South  Carolina  .... 

8 
I 

2 
0 
O 
0 
O 
O 

o 

0 
0 

o 

0 
2 

31 

4 
3 
i 

0 

3 
o 
i 
o 

0 

o 
o 
o 
3 

66 

8 

12 

i 

i 
i 

7 
3 

i 
i 

0 

i 
33 

32 

12 

4 
i 

0 

3 

2 

9 
I 

2 
2 

I 
O 

36 

32 
II 

3 
o 

0 

I 

2 

I 
I 

4 

2 
0 
O 

16 

o 

0 

o 
I 
o 

0 

o 

o 
o 

0 
0 

o 
o 
o 

Florida     

Louisiana     
West  Virginia    .... 

Tennessee    ...... 

Missouri  

Texas    

i*  South  M         

New 
England 
and  Middle 
States. 

Massachusetts     .... 
Connecticut     

2 
I 

4 
o 
o 

o 
o 

4 
o 
o 

5 

4 
*7 
i 
o 

4 

2 
15 

4 

0 

o 
7 
i 
o 
o 

3 
10 

9 

2 

3 

o 

I 

I 

0 

o 

New  York   
Rhode  Island  

Foreign  West. 
Countries. 

Minnesota   

2 
O 

3 
4 

0 

o 

I 

0 

I 
J 

o 
6 
o 

0 
0 

0 

i 
o 
o 
o 

o 
o 
o 
o 
o 

Michigan  

Delaware  

West  Indies     

o 
o 

0 

o 
o 

0 

o 
o 
o 

2 

7 
3 
i 
i 
7 

I 

3 
o 
o 
3 

6 

5 
o 

0 

3 

o 
o 
o 
o 

I 

Canada  ...... 

South  America  .... 
Cuba     .   .           .... 

•> 

II 

12 

55 

49 

38 

81 

*  Intermarried  whites. 


country  districts,  sharpened  and  prepared  for  crime  by  the 
slums   of  many  cities  through  which  they  have  passed. 


Sect.  17.] 


The  Seventh    Ward. 


79 


Besides  these,  there  is  the  large  and  well-intentioned  class 
who  are  seeking  to  better  their  lot  and  are  attracted  by 
the  larger  life  of  the  city. 

Much  light,  therefore,  will  be  thrown  on  the  question  of 
migration  if  we  take  the  Negro  immigrants  as  a  class  and 
inquire  how  long  they  have  lived  in  the  city  ;  we  can  sepa 
rate  the  immigrants  into  four  classes,  corresponding  to  the 
waves  of  immigration  :  first,  the  ante-bellum  immigrants, 
resident  tkirty-five  years  or  more  ;  second,  the  refugees  of 
war  time  and  the  period  following,  resident  twenty-one  to 
thirty-four  years  ;  third,  the  laborers  and  sightseers  of  the 
time  of  the  Centennial,  resident  ten  to  twenty  years ; 
fourth,  the  recent  immigration,  which  may  be  divided  into 
those  resident  from  five  to  nine  years,  from  one  to  four 
years,  and  those  who  have  been  in  the  city  less  than  a 
year.  Of  5337  immigrants,3  the  following  classes  may  be 
made  : 


Arrived  since  De 
cember  i. 

Resident. 

Number. 

Per  cent. 

Per  cent. 

l8q«>    

Years. 
Under  i 
I  to  4 
5  to  9 
10  to  20 
21  to  34 
35  and  over. 

293 
1,242 
1,308 

I»i43 
1,040 

3ii 

5-5 
23.2 

24.5 
21.4 

19-4 
6.0 

}        28.7 
}      45-9 
}      25.4 

\   53-2 
j    46.8 

1802                   ... 

1887 

1875    

1862    .    .     -     . 

Before  1860  .    .    . 

Before  1896  .    . 

5,337 

JOO 

100 

100 

Thus  we  see  that  the  majority  of  the  present  immigrants 
arrived  since  1887,  and  nearly  30  per  cent  since  1892. 
Carrying  out  the  division  by  age  periods,  we  have  : 


3  In  the  case  of  lodgers  not  at  home  and  sometimes  of  members  of 
families  answers  could  not  be  obtained  to  this  question.  There  were  in 
all  862  persons  born  outside  the  city  from  whom  answers  were  not 
obtained. 


8o 


Sources  of  the  Negro  Population.    [Chap.  VII. 


Ape. 
Years  Resident. 

0-9. 

10-20. 

21-30. 

31-40. 

Over  40. 

Un 
known. 

Under  i  year 

40 

56 

113 

60 

22 

3 

i  to  4  years 

77 

181 

648 

239 

94 

3 

5  to  9  years 
10  to  20  years 

48 
o 

J39 
103 

603 
343 

355 
449 

157 
238 

6 
10 

21  to  34  years 

o 

o 

107 

334 

595 

4 

35  years  and  over 

o 

o 

o 

17 

294 

0 

Total  

165 

479 

1,814 

1,454 

1,400 

26 

This  table  simply  confirms  the  testimony  of  others  as  to 
the  recent  immigration  of  young  people.  Without  doubt 
these  statistics  of  immigration  considerably  understate  the 
truth  ;  strong  social  considerations  lead  many  Negroes  to 
give  their  birthplace  as  Philadelphia  when,  as  a  matter  of 
fact,  it  may  be  elsewhere.  We  may  then  safely  conclude 
that  less  than  a  third  of  the  Negroes  in  the  city  were  born 
here,  and  of  the  others  less  than  a  quarter  have  been  resi 
dent  twenty  years  or  more.  So  that  half  the  Negro  popu 
lation  can  not  in  any  sense  be  said  to  be  a  product  of  the 
city,  but  rather  represents  raw  material,  whose  transforma 
tion  forms  a  pressing  series  of  social  problems.  Of  course, 
not  all  immigrants  are  undesirable  material,  nor  are  the 
native  Negroes  all  creditable  to  the  city  ;  on  the  contrary, 
many  of  the  best  specimens  of  Negroes  both  past  and 
present  were  not  born  in  the  city,4  while  some  of  the  most 
baffling  problems  arise  as  to  the  young  people  of  native 
families.  Nevertheless,  as  a  whole,  it  is  true  that  the 
average  of  culture  and  wealth  and  social  efficiency  is  far 
lower  among  immigrants  than  natives,  and  that  this  gives 
rise  to  the  gravest  of  the  Negro  problems. 

18.  The  City. — The  available  figures  for  the  past  are  not 
many  nor  altogether  reliable,  yet  it  seems  probable  that 
the  per  cent  of  immigrants  to-day  is  as  large  as  at  any 
previous  time  and  perhaps  larger.  In  1848,  57.3  per  cent 
of  15,532  Negroes  were  natives  of  the  State,  and  the 

*  Absalom  Jones,  Dorsey,  Minton,  Henry  Jones  and  Augustin  were 
none  of  them  natives  of  Philadelphia. 


Sect  18.]  The  City.  81 

remaining  42.7  per  cent  immigrants.  In  1890  we  have 
only  figures  for  the  whole  State,  which  show  that  45  per 
cent  of  the  Negroes  were  immigrants  mainly  from  Vir 
ginia,  Maryland,  Delaware,  New  Jersey,  North  Carolina, 
etc.5  For  Philadelphia  the  percentage  would  probably 
be  higher. 

The  new  immigrants  usually  settle  in  pretty  well-defined 
localities  in  or  near  the  slums,  and  thus  get  the  worst  pos 
sible  introduction  to  city  life.  In  1848,  five  thousand  of 
the  6600  immigrants  lived  in  the  narrow  and  filthy  alleys 
of  the  city  and  Moyamensing.  To-day  they  are  to  be 
found  partly  in  the  slums  and  partly  in  those  small  streets 
with  old  houses,  where  there  is  a  dangerous  intermingling 
of  good  and  bad  elements  fatal  to  growing  children  and 
unwholesome  for  adults.  Such  streets  may  be  found  in  the 
Seventh  Ward,  between  Tenth  and  Juniper  streets,  in  parts 
of  the  Third  and  Fourth  wards  and  in  the  Fourteenth  and 
Fifteenth  wa  rds.  This  mingling  swells  the  apparent  size 
of  many  slum  districts,  and  at  the  same  time  screens  the 
real  criminals.  Investigators  are  often  surprised  in  the 
worst  districts  to  see  red-handed  criminals  and  good-hearted, 
hard-working,  honest  people  living  side  by  side  in  apparent 
harmony.  Even  when  the  new  immigrants  seek  better 
districts,  their  low  standard  of  living  and  careless  appear 
ance  make  them  unwelcome  to  the  better  class  of  blacks  and 
to  the  great  mass  of  whites.  Thus  they  find  themselves 

6  Chinese,  Japanese  and  Indians  are  included  in  these  tables.     The 
exact  figures  are: 

Negro  population  of  Pennsylvania 107,626 

Of  these,  born  in  Pennsylvania 58,681 

Virginia 19,873 

Maryland 12,202 

Delaware 4,851 

New  Jersey i>786 

New  York 891 

North  Carolina 1,362 

District  Columbia 1,131 

Unknown 1,804 


82  Sources  of  the  Negro  Population.     [Chap.  VII. 

hemmed  in  between  the  slums  and  the  decent  sections, 
and  they  easily  drift  into  the  happy-go-lucky  life  of 
the  lowest  classes  and  rear  young  criminals  for  our  jails. 
On  the  whole,  then,  the  sociological  effect  of  the  immigra 
tion  of  Negroes  is  the  same  as  that  of  illiterate  foreigners 
to  this  country,  save  that  in  this  case  the  brunt  of  the 
"burden  of  illiteracy,  laziness  and  inefficiency  has  been,  by 
reason  of  peculiar  social  conditions,  put  largely  upon  the 
shoulders  of  a  group  which  is  least  prepared  to  bear  it. 


CHAPTER  VIII. 

EDUCATION   AND 


19.  The  History  of  Negro  Education.  —  Anthony 
Benezet  and  the  Friends  of  Philadelphia  have  the  honor 
of  first  recognizing  the  fact  that  the  welfare  of  the  State 
demands  the  education  of  Negro  children.  On  the 
twenty-sixth  of  January,  1770,  at  the  Philadelphia  Monthly 
Meeting  of  Friends,  the  general  situation  of  the  Negroes, 
and  especially  the  free  Negroes,  was  discussed.  On  motion 
of  one,  probably  Benezet,  it  was  decided  that  instruction 
ought  to  be  provided  for  Negro  children.1  A  committee 
was  appointed,  and  on  February  30  this  committee  pro 
posed  "  that  a  committee  of  seven  Friends  be  nominated 
by  the  Monthly  Meeting,  who  shall  be  authorized  to 
employ  a  schoolmistress  of  prudent  and  exemplary  con 
duct,  to  teach  not  more  at  one  time  than  thirty  children  in 
the  first  rudiments  of  school  learning,  and  in  sewing  and 
knitting.  That  the  admission  of  scholars  into  the  said 
school  be  entrusted  to  the  said  committee,  giving  to  the 
children  of  free  Negroes  and  Mulattoes  the  preference,  and 
the  opportunity  of  being  taught  clear  of  expense  to  their 
parents."  A  subscription  of  ^100  (about  $266.67)  was 
recommended  for  this  purpose.  This  report  was  adopted, 
and  the  school  opened  June  28,  1770,  with  twenty-two 
colored  children  in  attendance.  In  September  the  pupils 
had  increased  to  thirty-six,  and  a  teacher  in  sewing  and 
knitting  was  employed.  Afterward  those  who  could  were 
required  to  pay  a  sum,  varying  from  seven  shillings  six 
pence  to  ten  shillings  per  quarter,  for  tuition.  The  following 

1This  account  Is  mainly  from  the  pamphlet:  "A  Brief  Sketch  of  the 
Schools  for  Black  People,"  etc.  Philadelphia,  1867. 

(S3) 


84  Education  and  Illiteracy.         [Chap.  VIII. 

year  a  school-house  was  built  on  Walnut  street,  below 
Fourth — a  one-story  brick  building,  32  by  1 8  feet. 

From  1770  to  1775  two  hundred  and  fifty  children  and 
grown  persons  were  instructed.  Interest,  however,  began 
to  wane,  possibly  under  the  war-cloud,  and  in  1775  but 
five  Negro  children  were  in  attendance  and  some  white 
children  were  admitted.  Soon,  however,  the  parents  were 
aroused,  and  we  find  forty  Negroes  and  six  whites  attend 
ing. 

After  the  war  Benezet  took  charge  of  the  school  and 
held  it  in  his  house  at  Third  and  Chestnut.  At  his  death, 
in  1784,  he  left  a  part  of  his  estate  to  "  hire  and  employ  a 
religious-minded  person  or  persons  to  teach  a  number  of 
Negro,  Mulatto  or  Indian  children,  to  read,  write,  arithme 
tic,  plain  accounts,  needle- work,  etc."  Other  bequests 
were  received,  including  one  from  a  Negro,  Thomas  Shir 
ley,  and  from  this  fund  the  schools,  afterward  known  as  the 
Raspberry  street  schools,  were  conducted  for  many  years, 
and  a  small  school  is  still  maintained.  In  the  early  part 
of  the  century  sixty  to  eighty  scholars  attended  the  school, 
and  a  night  school  was  opened.  In  1844  a  lot  on  Raspberry 
street  was  purchased,  and  a  school-house  erected.  Here, 
from  1844  to  1866,  eight  thousand  pupils  in  all  were 
instructed. 

Public  schools  for  Negroes  were  not  established  until 
about  1822,  when  the  Bird  school,  now  known  as  the 
James  Forten,  was  opened  on  Sixth  street,  above  lyombard  ; 
in  1830  an  iinclassified  school  in  West  Philadelphia  was 
begun,  and  in  1833  the  Coates  street  school,  now  known 
as  the  Vaux  school,  on  Coates  street  (now  called  Fairmount 
Avenue),  near  Fifth,  was  established.  Other  schools  were 
opened  at  Frankford  in  1839,  at  Paschalville  in  1841,  on 
Corn  street  in  1849,  and  at  Holmesburg  in  1854.  In 
1838  the  Negro  school  statistics  were  as  follows  : 


Sect.  19.]         History  of  Negro  Education. 


NEGRO  SCHOOI,  STATISTICS,  1838. 


Schools. 

Pupils 
Enrolled. 

Average 
Attendance. 

9  free  schools     ...              ...              .   . 

I  116 

711 

3  schools,  partly  free   

226 

12*; 

3  pay  schools,  white  teachers    .... 

1  02 

8q 

10  pay  schools,  colored  teachers    

288 

oy 
260 

25  schools  

1,732 

1,187 

Total  children  of  school  age 3,025. 

Ten  years  later  school  facilities  had  greatly  increased: 
NEGRO  SCHOOL  STATISTICS,  1847. 


Schools. 

Pupils 
Enrolled. 

Public  Grammar  School,  X,ombard  street    .    . 

463 
70 
226 
155 
H3 
166 
207 

32 
81 

12 

67 
296 

Abolition  Society  Infant  School,  Lombard  street  

Public  Primary  School,  Gaskill  street     .   .           .    . 

Raspberry  Street  School  .    -               ,   .   .    . 

Public  Primary  School  Brown  street           ...               .   . 

Adelphi  School  Wager  street     ....       .              .    . 

Shiloh  Baptist*  Church  Infant  School,  Clifton  and  Cedar  Sts. 
Bedford  Street  School    

Moral  Reform  School               .    .       .   .                      ... 

Public  School,  Oak  street,  West  Philadelphia    

At  undesignated  public  schools  .   .       ....       

At  twenty  private  schools     

Total                     

1,888 

504 
2,074 

Total  Negro  children     .   .                     

4,466 

This  would  seem  tcj  indicate  a  smaller  percentage  of 
children  in  school  than  in  the  last  decade — a  natural  out 
come  of  the  period  of  depression  through  which  the 
Negroes  had  just  passed. 

In  1850  the  United  States  census  reported  3498  adults 
who  could  neither  read  nor  write,  among  the  Negroes  of 
the  city.  The  adult  population  at  that  time  must  have 
been  about  8000.  There  were  2176  children  in  school. 
In  1856  we  have  another  set  of  detailed  statistics  : 


86 


Ediication  and  Illiteracy.        [Chap.  VIII. 


Schools. 

Total 
Enrolment. 

Average 
Attendance. 

1,031 

821 

748 

491 

Benevolent  and  reformatory  schools  • 

211 

33  1 

Total  

2,321 

Children  from  8  to  18  not  in  school 1,620. 

The   schools   by  this  time   had   increased    in  number. 
There  were  the  following  public  schools  : 


Schools  and  Situations. 

Number 
Teachers. 

Enrol 
ment. 

Average 
Attendance 

Bird,  Sixth  above  Bombard  street,  Boys' 
Department,  Grammar  School  -       ... 
Bird,  Sixth  above   Lombard   street,  Girls' 
Department,  Grammar  School      .... 
Bird,  Sixth  above  Bombard  street,  Primary 

4 
4 
3 

228 
252 
183 

208 

293 
150 

Robert  Vaux,  Coates  street,  unclassified   . 
West  Philadelphia,  Oak  street,  unclassified 
Corn  street  unclassified  ...           .... 

2 
2 
I 

136 
97 
47 

93 

78 
32 

I 

31 

25 

I 

25 

19 

Banneker,  Paschalville,  unclassified  .   .    . 

I 

32 

15 

Total    

19 

1,031 

913 

The  public  schools  seemed  to  have  been  largely  manned 
by  colored  teachers,  and  were  for  a  long  time  less  efficient 
than  the  charity  schools.  The  grammar  schools  at  one  time, 
about  1844,  were  about  to  be  given  up,  but  were  saved, 
and  in  1856  were  doing  fairly  well.  The  charity  schools 
were  as  follows : 


Schools. 

Teachers. 

Enrol 
ment. 

Av.  Attend 
ance. 

Institute  for  Colored  Youth,  Lombard  St.  . 
Raspberry  St.  schools,  Boys*  Department 
Raspberry  St.  schools,  Girls'  Department 
Adelphi,  Wager  Street,  Girls'  Department 
Adelphi,  Wager  street,  Infants'  Department 
Sheppard  Randolph  street                  .   .   . 

2 
2 
2 
2 
2 
2 

31 
90 

79 
70 

95 
60 

26 
64 

53 
42 
61 
40 

School  at  the  House  of  Industry  
School  for  Destitute,  Lombard  street    .    . 
Infant  School,  South  and  Clifton  streets  . 
House  of  Refuge  School     

3 
I 

3 
3 

100 

73 
150 
119 

75 
45 
85 
in 

Orphans'  Shelter  School,  Thirteenth  street 
Home  for  Colored  Children,  Girard  avenue 

2 
I 

73 
19 

73 
'9 

Total  

25 

959 

694 

Sect.  19.]  History  of  Negro  Education.  87 

Of  the  above  schools,  the  House  of  Refuge,  Orphans' 
Shelter,  House  of  Industry,  and  Home  for  Colored  Children 
were  schools  connected  with  benevolent  and  reformatory 
institutions.  The  Raspberry  school  was  that  founded  by 
Benezet.  The  Institute  for  Colored  Youth  was  founded  by 
Richard  Humphreys,  a  West  Indian  ex-slaveholder,  who 
lived  in  Philadelphia.  On  his  death,  in  1832,  he  bequeathed 
the  sum  of  #10,000  to  the  Friends,  to  found  an  institution, 
"  having-  for  its  object  the  benevolent  design  of  instructing 
the  descendants  of  the  African  race  in  school  learning,  in  the 
various  branches  of  the  mechanic  arts  and  trades,  and  in 
agriculture,  in  order  to  prepare,  fit  and  qualify  them  to  act 
as  teachers."  The  Institute  was  acccordingly  founded  in 
1837,  chartered  in  1842,  and  upon  receiving  further  gifts 
was  temporarily  located  on  L,ornbard  street.  In  1866 
additional  sums  were  raised,  and  the  Institute  located  on 
Bainbridge  street,  above  Ninth,  where  it  is  still  conducted. 

There  were  in  1856  the  following  private  schools  : 


Grade. 

Schools. 

Enrollment. 

I 

30 

For  grammar  school  work.        .        ... 

2 

3° 

IO 

271 

Total   

13 

331 

There  were  also  two  night  schools,  with  an  attendance 
of  150  or  more. 

The  percentage  of  illiteracy  in  the  city  was  still  large. 
Bacon's  investigation  showed  that  of  9021  adults  over 
twenty  years  of  age,  45 ^  per  cent  were  wholly  illiterate, 
16^  per  cent  could  read  and  write  and  19  per  cent  could 
"read,  write  and  cipher."  Detailed  statistics  for  each 
ward  are  given  in  the  next  table  : 


88  Education  and  Illiteracy.        [Chap.  VIII. 

ILLITERACY  OF  PHILADELPHIA  NEGROES,    1854-6. 


Ward. 

Total 
Adults  over 
20  Years 
of  Age. 

Of  these 
there  can 
Read, 
Write  and 
Cipher. 

Read 
and 

Write. 

Read. 

Totally 
Illiterate. 

223 

25 

23 

47 

128 

349 

36 

54 

76 

133 

275 

60 

48 

68 

99 

1,427 

262 

199 

273 

693 

1,818 

350 

285 

3^0 

873 

6             

151 

21 

25 

34 

7i 

1,867 

431 

337 

3ii 

788 

8    

060 

204 

192 

199 

374 

7    ^ 

76 

2O 

16 

*9 

21 

208 

40 

39 

42 

87 

ii            

37 

2 

ii 

5 

19 

234 

53 

35 

42 

IO4 

69 

15 

12 

15 

27 

233 

34 

46 

66 

87 

IS7 

20 

26 

29 

82 

!§               , 

82 

*7 

12 

13 

40 

7° 

J3 

8 

ii 

38 

18                         ... 

4 

i 

I 

o 

2 

114 

6 

20 

18 

70 

QO 

22 

12 

15 

50 

2 

O 

0 

i 

I 

36 

7 

4 

7 

18 

24Q 

30 

43 

48 

128 

24    

252 

41 

34 

37 

140 

Total  

9,001 

1,710 

1,482 

1,686 

4,123 

Separate  schools  for  black  and  white  were  maintained 
from  the  beginning,  barring  the  slight  mixing  in  the  early 
Quaker  schools.  Not  only  were  the  common  schools  sep 
arate,  but  there  were  no  public  high  schools  for  Negroes, 
professional  schools  were  closed  to  them,  and  within  the 
memory  of  living  men  the  University  of  Pennsylvania  not 
only  refused  to  admit  Negroes  as  students,  but  even  as 
listeners  in  the  lecture  halls.2  Not  until  1881  was  a  law 
passed  declaring  it  "  unlawful  for  any  school  director,  super 
intendent  or  teacher  to  make  any  distinction  whatever  on 
account  of,  or  by  reason  of,  the  race  or  color  of  any  pupil 
or  scholar  who  may  be  in  attendance  upon,  or  seeking 
admission  to,  any  public  or  common  school  maintained 

2  Within  a  few  years  a  Negro  had  to  fight  his  way  through  a  promi 
nent  dental  college  in  the  city. 


Sect.  20.]  The  Present  Condition.  89 

wholly  or  in  part  under  the  school  laws  of  this  common 
wealth."  This  enactment  was  for  some  time  evaded,  and 
even  now  some  discrimination  is  practiced  quietly  in  the 
matter  of  admission  and  transfers.  There  are  also  schools 
still  attended  solely  by  Negro  pupils  and  taught  by 
Negro  teachers,  although,  of  course,  the  children  are  at 
liberty  to  go  elsewhere  if  they  choose.  They  are  kept 
largely  through  a  feeling  of  loyalty  to  Negro  teachers. 
In  spite  of  the  fact  that  several  Negroes  have  been  gradu 
ated  with  high  marks  at  the  Normal  School,  and  in  at 
least  one  case  ''passed  one  of  the  best  examinations  for  a 
supervising  principal's  certificate  that  has  been  accom 
plished  in  Philadelphia  by  any  teacher,"3  yet  no  Negro 
has  been  appointed  to  a  permanent  position  outside  the 
few  colored  schools. 

20.  The  Present  Condition. — There  were,  in  1896, 
5930  Negro  children  in  the  public  schools  of  the  city, 
against  6150  in  1895  and  6262  in  1897.  Confining  our 
selves  simply  to  the  Seventh  Ward,  we  find  the  total  popu 
lation  of  legal  school  age — six  to  thirteen  in  Pennsylvania — 
was  862  in  1896,  of  whom  740,  or  85.8  per  cent,  were 
reported  as  attending  school  at  some  time  during  the  year. 
Of  the  persons  five  to  twenty  years  of  age  about  48  per 
cent  were  in  school.  Statistics  by  age  and  sex  are  in  the 
next  table.4  (See  page  90.) 

Some  difference  is  to  be  noted  between  the  sexes  :  Of 
the  children  six  to  thirteen  years  of  age,  85  per  cent  of  the 
boys  and  nearly  86  per  cent  of  the  girls  are  in  school ;  of 
the  youth  fourteen  to  twenty,  20  per  cent  of  the  boys  and 
21  per  cent  of  the  girls  are  in  school.  The  boys  stop 
school  pretty  suddenly  at  sixteen,  the  girls  at  seventeen* 


3  Philadelphia  Ledger,  August  13,  1897. 

4  The  chief   error  in  the  school  returns  arises  from  irregularity  in 
attendance.    Those  reported  in  school  were  there  sometime  during  the 
year,  and  possibly  off  and  on  during  the  whole  year,  but  many  were  not 
steady  attendants. 


9o  Education  and  Illiteracy.        [Chap.  VIII. 

Nearly  u  per  cent  of  the  children  in  school  were  in 
attendance  less  than  the  full  term  f  of  these  attending  the 
whole  term  there  is  much  irregularity  through  absences 
and  tardiness.  On  the  whole,  therefore,  the  effective  school 
attendance  is  less  than  appears  at  first  sight. 

SCHOOL  POPULATION  AND  ATTENDANCE  (1896-97)  BY 
Negroes  of  the  Seventh  Ward. 


Males. 

Females. 

Age. 

School 

School 

School 

School 

Population. 

Attendance. 

Population. 

Attendance. 

Kindergarten  f  4  years   . 
age               \  5  years   . 

67 
46 

5 
II 

66 

5i 

6 
19 

Total  of  Kindergarten  age 

"3 

16 

117 

25 

f    6  years 

50 

28 

56 

35 

7  years 

48 

40 

59 

45 

Pennsylva 
nia  legal 
school  age. 

8  years 
9  years 
10  years 
ii  years 

53 
54 
49 
39 

48 

50 
44 
08 

67 
51 

57 
58 

59 
50 
52 

55 

12  years 

45 

39 

62 

56 

L  13  years 

53 

46 

61 

55 

Total  of  legal  school  age 

391 

333 

471 

407 

14  years 

45 

35 

52 

36 

Youth 

15  years 

39 

22 

52 

24 

above  legal 

I  6  years 

53 

24 

7i 

31 

school  age,    - 

17  years 

50 

6 

C7 

19 

and  under 

i  8  years 

55 

4 

80 

4 

voting  age. 

19  years 

56 

2 

9r 

I 

^  20  years 

67 

O 

122 

2 

Total  youth    .    .  14-20 

365 

93 

555 

117 

Total  children   .    5-20 

802 

437 

1077 

543 

(Usual  school  age.) 

The  question  of  illiteracy  is  a  difficult  one  to  have 
answered  without  actual  tests,  especially  when  the  people 
questioned  have  some  motives  for  appearing  less  ignorant 
than  they  actually  are.  The  figures  for  the  Seventh  Ward, 
therefore,  undoubtedly  understate  the  illiteracy  somewhat ; 
nevertheless  the  error  is  not  probably  large  enough  to 

5  Of  647  school  children  62  were  in  school  less  than  nine  months — some 
less  than  three.  Probably  many  more  than  this  did  not  attend  the  full 
term. 


Sect  20.] 


The  Present  Condition. 


deprive  the  figures  of  considerable  value,  and  compared  with 
statistics  taken  in  a  similar  manner  they  are  probably  of 
average  reliability.6  Of  8464  Negroes  in  the  Seventh 
Ward  the  returns  show  that  12.17  per  cent  are  totally 
illiterate.  Comparing  this  with  previous  years  we  have  : 


1850. 
1856. 
1870 . 


,  44     percent. 


1890 18     per  cent, 

1896  (7th  Ward)  12.17       "        » 


The  large  number  of  young  people  in  the  Seventh  Ward 
probably  brings  the  average  of  illiteracy  below  the  level 
of  the  whole  city.  Why  this  is  so  may  be  seen  if  we  take 
the  illiteracy  of  four  age-classes  : 


Age. 

Read  and 
Write. 

Read.1 

Illiterate. 

QA.% 

2% 

4?o 

Men  and  women,  21  to  30  years  of  age  .   . 
Men  and  women,  31  to  40  years  of  age  . 
Men  and  women,  over  40  years  of  age  .   . 

go 

77 
61 

6 
6 
10 

4 
17 
29 

The  same  difference  is  plain  if  we  take  the  returns  of  the 
census  of  1890  for  the  colored  population  of  the  whole  city : 


Age. 

Illiterate 
Males. 

Illiterate 
Females. 

Total 
Illiterates. 

138 
836 
1,098 
334 

216 
1,096 

1,571 

775 

354 
r>932 
2,669 
1,109 

45  and  over  

Total  (including  those  of  unknown  age) 

2,450 

3,719 

6,169 

Males. 
15,981 

Females. 
18,266 

Colored 
Persons. 

34,247 

Per  cent  of  total  illiteracy  

*$% 

2.1% 

I8# 

6  As  has  before  been  noted,  the  Negroes  are  less  apt  to  deceive  deliber 
ately  than  some  other  peoples.    The  ability  to  read,  however,  is  a  point 
of  pride  with  them,  and  especial  pains  was  taken  in  the  canvass  to  avoid 
error;  often  two  or  more  questions  on  the  point  were  asked.    Nevertheless 
all  depended  in  the  main  on  voluntary  answers. 

7  This  looks  small  and  yet  it  probably  approximates  the  truth,     My 
general  impression  from  talking  with  several  thousand  Negroes  in  the 
Seventh  Ward  is  that  the  percentage  of  total  illiteracy  is  small  among 
them. 


Education  and  Illiteracy.        [Chap.  VIIL 


Separating  those  in  the  Seventh  Ward  by  sex,  we  have 
this  table,  showing  a  total  illiteracy  of  10  per  cent  among 
the  males  and  17  per  cent  among  the  females : 

BY  SEX  AND  BY  AGE  PERIODS. — SEVENTH  WARD. 


Males. 

Females. 

>>£ 

d 
^ 

>*& 

p 

^ 

Sex—  Ages. 

cd 

Irt'tf-^ 

•d 

?? 

o 

rt 

^"dii 

ye 

o 

0 

ty  o  d 

5 

fl  W 

a 

0 

^  S  u 

•=jy 

j; 

** 

M 

*! 

a 
D 

H 

*-.„ 

« 

^•3 

M 

a 
P 

Youth,  10  to  20  years  . 
Post-bellum   men, 

550 

5H 

10 

13 

13 

792 

730 

16 

38 

8 

(born    since    1865), 

21  to  30  years  .... 

1,396 

1,229 

45 

61 

61 

1,492 

Il283 

55 

116 

38 

Men  of   war   time 

(born  between  1855 

and  1866),  31   to  40 

years  

978 

784 

40 

ill 

43 

1,032 

697 

84 

211 

40 

Freedmen    (born  be 

fore    1856),    over  40 

887 
I2O 

625 

12 

63 
i 

181 
3 

18 
104 

'116 

558 
24 

136 

2 

381 

4 

26 
86 

Of  unknown  age  .  . 

Total  

3,931 

3,164  |      159 

369 

230 

4.533 

3,292  1        2Q3 

750 

198 

Granting  that  those  reporting  themselves  as  able  to  read 
should  in  most  cases  be  included  under  the  illiterate,  and 
that  therefore  the  rate  of  illiteracy  in  the  Seventh  Ward  is 
about  1 8  per  cent,  and  perhaps  20  per  cent  for  the  city, 
nevertheless  the  rate  is,  all  things  considered,  low  and 
places  the  Philadelphia  Negroes  in  a  position  not  much 
worse  than  that  of  the  total  population  of  Belgium  (15.9 
per  cent),  so  far  as  actual  illiterates  are  concerned.8 

8The  Seventh  Special  Report  of  the  United  States  Commissioner  of 
Ivabor  enables  us  to  make  some  comparison  of  the  illiteracy  of  the  foreign 
and  Negro  populations  of  the  City: 


Nationalities. 


Italians,  1894  .  .  . 
Russians,  1894    .  . 
Poles,  1894   .... 
Hungarians,  1894 
Irish,  1894    .... 
Negroes,  7th  W.,  1896 
Germans,  1894  .  . 


Persons  able  to 
Read  and  Write. 


1396 
1128 
838 


6893 


36.37  p.  c, 

58.08  " 

59-73  " 

69.16  " 

74.21  " 

81.44  " 

85.26  «« 


Illiterates. 


2442 
814 
565 
140 
1 88 
i57i 
78 


63.63  p.c. 

41.92 

40.27 

30.84 

25.79 

18.56 

14.74 


Comparison  of 
Illiteracy. 


The  foreigners  here  reported  include  all  those  living  in  certain  parts  of 
the  Third  and  Fourth  Wards  of  Philadelphia.  They  are  largely  recent 
immigrants.  The  Russians  and  Poles  are  mostly  Jews. — ISABEL  BATON. 


Sect.  20.]  The  Present  Condition.  93 

The  degree  of  education  of  those  who  can  read  and  write 
can  only  be  indicated  in  general  terms.  The  majority 
have  only  a  partial  common  school  education  from  the 
country  schools  of  the  South  or  the  primary  grades  of  the 
city ;  a  considerable  number  have  taken  grammar  school 
work  ;  a  very  few  have  entered  the  high  schools  and  there 
have  been  from  fifty  to  one  hundred  graduates  from  col 
leges  and  professional  schools  since  the  war.  Exact  figures 
as  to  the  proportion  of  students  taking  higher  courses  are 
not  easily  obtained. 

In  the  Catto  School,  1867-96,  n  per  cent  of  those  enter 
ing  the  primary  grade  were  promoted  to  the  grammar 
school ;  less  than  i  per  cent  of  those  entering  the  primary 
grade  of  the  Vaux  School  were  promoted  to  the  High 
School.  Of  those  graduating  from  the  course  at  the  Insti 
tute  for  Colored  Youth,  8  per  cent  have  taken  a  college  or 
professional  course.9  Thus  it  appears  that  of  1000  colored 
children  entering  the  primary  grade  no  go  to  the  gram 
mar  school,  ten  to  the  high  school  and  one  to  college  or 
to  a  professional  school.  The  basis  of  induction  here  is, 
however,  too  small  for  many  conclusions.10 

At  present  there  are  in  the  Seventh  Ward  thirteen  schools 
for  children  of  all  races  and  sixty-four  teachers,  with  school 
property  valued  at  $214,382.  The  schools  are  :  one  com 
bined  grammar  and  secondary,  three  secondary,  one  com 
bined  secondary  and  primary,  four  primary  and  four 
kindergartens. 

In  the  city  the  following  are  the  public  schools  chiefly 
attended  by  Negroes  : 


9  Data  furnished  by  two  principals  of  colored  schools.     At  present 
(1897)  there  are  58  Negro  students  in  the  following  schools:  Central 
High,  Girls'  Normal,  Girls'  High,  Central  Manual  Training  and  North 
East  Manual  Training;  or  about  one  per  cent  of  the  total  school  enroll 
ment. 

10  probably  the  percentage  of  children  promoted  from  primary  to 
grammar  grades  in  this  case  is  unusually  small. 


94 


Education  and  Illiteracy.        [Chap.  VIII. 


Coulter  street,  Twenty-second  Section  . 

J.  33.  Hill,  Germantown 84 

Robert  Vaux,  Wood  street 67 

O.  V.  Catto,  Lombard  street 140 

Wilmot,  Meadow  and  Cherry  streets     .    .    48 
James  Miller,  Forty-second  and  Ludlowsts.,  24 


J.  S.  Ramsey,  Quince  and  Pine  streets  .    .  243 


45  boys,    39  girls,  all  colored. 
89     "  " 

74    " 
150    " 

47     " 
13     " 


253 


nearly  all 
colored. 


All  the  teachers  are  colored  except  those  in  the  Ramsey 
and  Miller  schools,  who  are  all  white.  There  are  a  few 
colored  kindergarten  teachers  in  various  sections,  and  large 
numbers  of  colored  children  go  to  other  schools  beside 
those  designated.  Many  of  the  colored  schools  have  a  high 
reputation  for  efficient  work.11  There  is,  theoretically, 
no  discrimination  in  night  schools  and  some  Negroes 
go  to  white  schools ;  for  the  most  part,  however,  the 
Negroes  are  in  the  following  night  schools  : 

PHILADELPHIA  COLORED  NIGHT  SCHOOLS,  1895. 


Name  of  School. 

"SbO 

v«  q    . 

IP 

«.^ 

Q4J 

£<S 

No.  Registered 
at  I^nd 
of  Term. 

Average 
Attendance. 

Average  per 
Cent  Present 
during  Term. 

Pupils  under 
15  Years. 

Pupils 
15-20  Years. 

en 

w  d 

1> 
fif 

« 

Pupils 
30-40  Years. 

Pupils 
40-50  Years. 

Pupils  j 
over  50  Years.  | 

& 

< 

1 

< 

O.  V   Catto     , 

60 

*75 

60 

64 

17 

Vaux      

18 

71 

25 

59 

I 

12 

16 

5 

27 

<?6 

Park  Avenue  .... 
J.  E.  Hill     .  .  . 

35 

3° 

95 

112 

5i 
40 

62 

64 

14 

34 

47 

40 
,*o 

3 

9 

4 
g 

0 

21 

West  Philadelphia  . 
Coulter  street    .  .   . 

50 
48 

& 

38 

47 

49 
68 

3 
5 

14 
48 

39 

24 

32 
II 

6 
o 

0 
0 

27 
20 

Total  night  schools 
of  city-  white  and 
colored  

8957 

2208 

8352 

67 

6172 

11,963 

2844 

625 

183 

44 

18 

11  The  following  report  from  a  member  of  the  Committee  on  Schools  of 
the  City  Councils  is  taken  from  the  Philadelphia  Ledger,  December  2, 
1896:  On  the  matter  of  the  needs  of  the  colored  population  in  connection 
with  the  schools,  Mr.  Meehan  had  to  say:  "  Young  women  of  the  colored 
race  are  qualifying  themselves  for  public  school  teachers  by  taking  the 
regular  course  through  our  Normal  School.  No  matter  how  well 
qualified  they  may  be  to  teach,  directors  do  not  elect  them  to  positions  in 
the  schools.  It  is  taken  for  granted  that  only  white  teachers  shall  be 
placed  in  charge  of  white  children.  The  colored  Normal  School  grad 
uates  might  be  given  a  chance  by  appointments  in  the  centre  of  some 
colored  population,  so  that  colored  people  might  support  their  own 
teachers  if  so  disposed,  as  they  support  their  own  ministers  in  their 


Sect  20.]  The  Present  Condition.  95 

The  Institute  for  Colored  Youth  is  still  a  popular  and 
useful  institution.  It  gives  grammar  and  high  school 
courses.  In  1890,  by  the  efforts  of  both  white  and  colored 
friends,12  an  industrial  department,  with  eleven  teachers, 
was  added.  Among  the  men  trained  here  are  Octavius  V. 
Catto,  Jacob  C.  White,  Jr.,  who  was  for  thirty-five  years 
principal  of  the  Vaux  School,  two  ex-ministers  from  the 
United  States  to  Haiti,  and  the  young  colored  physician 
who  recently  broke  twenty-five  years  record  in  the  excel 
lence  of  his  examination  before  the  State  Board.  Under 
Mr.  White,  mentioned  above,  Mr.  Henry  Tanner,  the  artist 
recently  honored  by  the  French  government,  was  graduated 
from  the  Vaux  School. 

Considering  this  testimony  as  a  whole,  it  seems  certain 
that  the  Negro  problem  in  Philadelphia  is  no  longer,  in  the 
main,  a  problem  of  sheer  ignorance ;  to  be  sure,  there  is 
still  a  very  large  totally  illiterate  class  of  perhaps  6000 
persons  over  ten  years  of  age ;  then,  too,  the  other  24,000 
are  not  in  any  sense  of  the  word  educated  as  a  mass ;  most 
of  them  can  read  and  write  fairly  well,  but  few  have  a 
training  beyond  this.  The  leading  classes  among  them  are 
mostly  grammar  school  graduates,  and  a  college  bred  person 
is  very  exceptional.  Thus  the  problem  of  education  is 
still  large  and  pressing  ;  and  yet  considering  their  ignorance 
in  the  light  of  history  and  present  experience,  it  must  be 
acknowledged  that  there  are  other  social  problems  con 
nected  with  this  people  more  pressing  than  that  of  educa 
tion  ;  that  a  fair  degree  of  persistence  in  present  methods 
will  settle  in  time  the  question  of  ignorance,  but  other 
social  questions  are  by  no  means  so  near  solution. 

The  only  difficulties  in  the  matter  of  education  are  care 
lessness  in  school  attendance,  and  poverty  which  keeps 

separate  colored  churches.  The  good  result  of  this  arrangement  is 
shown  by  the  experience  in  the  Twenty-second  Section,  where  there  are 
two  schools  with  seven  colored  teachers,  ranking  among  the  most 
popular  in  the  section." 

12  Negroes  in  the  city  raised  $2000  toward  this. 


96  Education  and  Illiteracy.         [Chap.  VIII 

children  out  of  school.  The  former  is  a  matter  for  the 
colored  people  to  settle  themselves,  and  is  one  to  which 
their  attention  needs  to  be  called.  While  much  has  been 
done,  yet  it  cannot  be  said  that  Negroes  have  fully  grasped 
their  great  school  advantages  in  the  city  by  keeping  their 
younger  children  regularly  in  school,  and  from  this  retniss- 
ness  much  harm  has  sprung. 


CHAPTER   IX. 

THE   OCCUPATIONS   OF   NEGROES. 

21.  The  Question  of  Earning  a  Living. — For  a  group 
of  freedmen  the  question  of  economic  survival  is  the  most 
pressing  of  all  questions ;  the  problem  as  to  how,  under 
the  circumstances  of  modern  life,  any  group  of  people  can 
earn  a  decent  living,  so  as  to  maintain  their  standard  of 
life,  is  not  always  easy  to  answer.  But  when  the  question 
is  complicated  by  the  fact  that  the  group  has  a  low  degree 
of  efficiency  on  account  of  previous  training ;  is  in  com 
petition  with  well-trained,  eager  and  often  ruthless  com 
petitors  ;  is  more  or  less  handicapped  by  a  somewhat 
indefinite  but  existent  and  wide-reaching  discrimination  ; 
and,  finally,  is  seeking  not  merely  to  maintain  a  standard 
of  living  but  steadily  to  raise  it  to  a  higher  plane — such  a 
situation  presents  baffling  problems  to  the  sociologist  and 
philanthropist. 

And  yet  this  is  the  situation  of  the  Negro  in  Philadel 
phia  ;  he  is  trying  to  better  his  condition ;  is  seeking  to 
rise ;  for  this  end  his  first  need  is  work  of  a  character  to 
engage  his  best  talents,  and  remunerative  enough  for  him 
to  support  a  home  and  train  up  his  children  well.  The 
competition  in  a  large  city  is  fierce,  and  it  is  difficult  for 
any  poor  people  to  succeed.  The  Negro,  however,  has  two 
especial  difficulties  :  his  training  as  a  slave  and  freedman 
has  not  been  such  as  make  the  average  of  the  race  as 
efficient  and  reliable  workmen  as  the  average  native  Amer 
ican  or  as  many  foreign  immigrants.  The  Negro  is,  as  a 
rule,  willing,  honest  and  good-natured  ;  but  he  is  also,  as 
a  rule,  careless,  unreliable  and  unsteady.  This  is  without 
doubt  to  be  expected  in  a  people  who  for  generations  have 

(97) 


g8  The  Ocatpations  of  Negroes.        [Chap.  IX. 

been  trained  to  shirk  work  ;  but  an  historical  excuse 
counts  for  little  in  the  whirl  and  battle  of  bread-winning. 
Of  course,  there  are  large  exceptions  to  this  average  rule; 
there  are  many  Negroes  who  are  as  bright,  talented  and 
reliable  as  any  class  of  workmen,  and  who  in  untrammeled 
competition  would  soon  rise  high  in  the  economic  scale, 
and  thus  by  the  law  of  the  survival  of  the  fittest  we  should 
Soon  have  left  at  the  bottom  those  inefficient  and  lazy 
drones  who  did  not  deserve  a  better  fate.  However,  in  the 
realm  of  social  phenomena  the  law  of  survival  is  greatly 
modified  by  human  choice,  wish,  whim  and  prejudice. 
And  consequently  one  never  knows  when  one  sees  a  social 
outcast  how  far  this  failure  to  survive  is  due  to  the  defi 
ciencies  of  the  individual,  and  how  far  to  the  accidents  or 
injustice  of  his  environment.  This  is  especially  the  case 
with  the  Negro.  Every  one  knows  that  in  a  city  like 
Philadelphia  a  Negro  does  not  have  the  same  chance  to 
exercise  his  ability  or  secure  work  according  to  his  talents 
as  a  white  man.  Just  how  far  this  is  so  we  shall  discuss 
later ;  now  it  is  sufficient  to  say  in  general  that  the  sorts 
of  work  open  to  Negroes  are  not  only  restricted  by  their 
own  lack  of  training  but  also  by  discrimination  against 
them  on  account  of  their  race  ;  that  their  economic  rise  is 
not  only  hindered  by  their  present  poverty,  but  also  by  a 
widespread  inclination  to  shut  against  them  many  doors  of 
advancement  open  to  the  talented  and  efficient  of  other 
races. 

What  has  thus  far  been  the  result  of  this  complicated 
situation  ?  What  do  the  mass  of  the  Negroes  of  the  city 
at  present  do  for  a  living,  and  how  successful  are  they  in 
those  lines?  And  in  so  far  as  they  are  successful,  what 
have  they  accomplished,  and  where  they  are  inefficient  in 
their  present  sphere  of  work,  what  is  the  cause  and  rem 
edy  ?  These  are  the  questions  before  us,  and  we  proceed 
to  answer  the  first  in  this  chapter,  taking  the  occupations 
of  the  Negroes  of  the  Seventh  Ward  first,  then  of  the  city 


Sect.  22.]     Occupations  in  the  Seventh  Ward.  99 

in  a  general  way,  and  finally  saying   a  word  as   to   the 
past. 

22.  Occupations  in  the  Seventh  'Ward. — Of  the  257 
boys  between  the  ages  of  ten  and  twenty,  who  were  regu 
larly  at  work  in  1896,  39  per  cent  were  porters  and  errand 
boys ;  25.5  per  cent  were  servants ;  16  per  cent  were  common 
laborers,  and  19  per  cent  had  miscellaneous  employment. 
The  occupations  in  detail  are  as  follows : l 

Total  population,  males  10  to  20    .   .   .   .651 
Engaged  in  gainful  occupations    ....  257 

Porters  and  errand  boys 100  39.0  per  cent. 

Servants 66  25.5        " 

Common  laborers 40  16.0        " 

Teamsters 7 

Apprentices 6 

Bootblacks 6 

Drivers 5 

Newsboys 5 

Peddlers 4 

Typesetters 3 

Actors 2 

Bricklayers 2 

Hostlers 2 

Typewriters 2 

Barber,  bartender,  bookbinder,  factory 
hand,  rubber-worker,  sailor,  shoe 
maker — one  each •  7 

—  51  19-5 

257          ico     per  cent. 

1  The  returns  as  to  occupations  are  on  the  whole  reliable.  There  was 
in  the  first  place  little  room  for  deception,  since  the  occupations  of 
Negroes  are  so  limited  that  a  false  or  indefinite  answer  was  easily 
revealed  by  a  little  judicious  probing;  moreover  there  was  little  disposi 
tion  to  deceive,  for  the  Negroes  are  very  anxious  to  have  their  limited 
opportunities  for  employment  known;  thus  the  motives  of  pride  and 
complaint  balanced  each  other  fairly  well.  Some  error  of  course 
remains:  the  number  of  servants  and  day  workers  is  slightly  under 
stated;  the  number  of  caterers  and  men  with  trades  is  somewhat 
exaggerated  by  the  answers  of  men  with  two  occupations:  e.g.,*  waiter 
with  a  small  side  business  of  catering  returns  himself  as  caterer;  a 
carpenter  who  gets  little  work  and  makes  his  living  largely  as  a  laborer 
is  sometimes  returned  as  a  carpenter,  etc.  In  the  main  the  errors  are 
small  and  of  little  consequence. 


ioo  The  Occupations  of  Negroes.        [Chap.  IX. 

Of  the  men  twenty-one  years  of  age  and  over,  there  were 
in  gainful  occupations,  the  following : 

In  the  learned  professions 61  2.0  per  cent. 

Conducting  business  on  their  own  ac 
count    207  6.5        " 

In  the  skilled  trades 236  7.0        " 

Clerks,  etc 159  5«o        <f 

Laborers,  better  class 602 

Laborers,  common  class 852 

—  1454  45.0 

Servants 1079  34.0        " 

Miscellaneous n  .5        u 

3207  ioo  per  cent. 

Total  male  population,  21  and  over sSso.8 


2  A  more  detailed  list  of  the  occupations  of  male  Negroes,  twenty-one 
years  of  age  and  over,  living  in  the  Seventh  Ward  in  1896,  is  as  follows: 

Entrepreneurs. 

Caterers 65  Employment  Agents  .  .  .  .  3 

Hucksters 37  Lodging  House  Keepers  ...  3 

Proprietors  Hotels  and  Restau-  Proprietors  of  Pool  Rooms  .  .  3 

rants 22  Real  Estate  Agencies 3 

Merchants:  Fuel  and  Notions  22  Job  Printers 3 

Proprietors  of  Barber  Shops  .  .  15  Builder  and  Contractor  ,  ...  j 

Expressmen  owning  outfit  .  .  14  Sub-landlord i 

Merchants,  Cigar  Stores  ...  7  Milk  Dealer I 

Merchants,  Grocery  Stores  .  .  4  Publisher  , i 

Proprietors  of  Undertaking  Es-  

tablishments 2  207 

In  Learned  Professions, 

Clergymen .22      Dentists 3 

Students 17      Editors i 

Teachers 7  

Physicians  .   .   , 6  61 

Lawyers 5 

In  the  Skilled  Irades. 

Barbers 64  Apprentice i 

Cigar  Makers 39  Boilermaker I 

Shoemakers 18  Blacksmith i 

Stationary  Engineers 13  China  Repairer ........  i 

Bricklayers n  Cooper    .    .    .    ,    4 i 

Printers 10  Cabinetmaker i 


Sect.  22.]     Occupations  in  the  Seventh  Ward. 


101 


This  shows  that  three-fourths  of  the  male  Negroes  ten 
years  of  age  and  over  in  gainful  occupations  are  laborers 
and  servants,  while  the  remaining  fourth  is  equally  divided 
into  three  parts  :  one  to  the  trades,  one  to  small  business 


Painters ,   .   ,  10 

Upholsterers 7 

Carpenters 6 

Bakers 4 

Tailors 4 

Undertakers 4 

Brickmakers 3 

Framemakers 3 

Plasterers 3 

Rubber  Workers 3 

Stone  Cutters 3 

Bookbinders 2 

Candy  Makers 2 

Chiropodists 2 

Ice  Carvers 2 

Photographers 2 


Dyer i 

Furniture  Polisher i 

Gold  Beater i 

Kalsominer I 

Locksmith 

Laundryman  (steam) 

Paper  Hanger 

Roofer 

Tinsmith 

Wicker  Worker 

Horse  Trainer 

Chemist 

Florist     . i 

Pilot i 


236 


Clerks^  Semi-Professional  and  Responsible  Workers. 


Messengers 33 

Stewards 31 

Musicians 20 

Clerks 18 

Agents 15 

Clerks  in  Public  Service    ...  8 

Managers  and  Foremen  ....  6 

Actors 6 

Bartenders 5 

Servants. 

Domestics 582      Nurses     . 

Hotel  Help 457 

Public  Waiters 38 

Laborers  (Select  Class}. 


Policemen 5 

Sextons 4 

Shipping  Clerks 3 

Dancing  Masters 3 

Inspector  in  Factory  .   ,       .   .  i 

Cashier i 


159 

.        2 
1079 


164      China  Packers 14 


Stevedores 

Teamsters *34 

Janitors 94      Drivers    .   .   . 

Hod  Carriers 79      Oyster  Openers 

Hostlers 44 

Elevator  Men 22 

Sailors 21 


Watchmen 14 

12 

.....     4 

602 


IO2 


The  Occupations  of  Negroes.        [Chap.  IX* 


enterprises,  and  one  to  professional  men,  clerks  and  miscel 
laneous  employments. 

Turning  now  to  the  females,  ten  to  twenty  years  of  age, 
we  have  : 

Housewives    .............    38  4.5  per  cent. 

At  work3    ..............  289  36.5          " 

At  school    .............  333  42.0          " 

At  home,  unoccupied,  etc  .......  133  17.0          " 

Total  female  population  10-20  .   .   .  793  100  per  cent. 

Of  the  289  at  work  there  were  : 

In  domestic  service    .........  211  73.0  per  cent. 

Doing  day's  work    ..........    32  n.o        " 

Dressmakers  and  seamstresses  .....    16  5.5         " 

Servants  in  public  places  ......    12  4.3        " 

Apprentices     .....   *   .....    6 

Musicians    ............    4 

Teachers  .............    3 

Clerks  ..............    2 

Actresses  .............    2 

Hairdressers    ...........    i 

—    18  6.2 

289  100  per  cent. 

Taking  the  occupations  of  women  twenty-one  years  of 
age  and  over,  we  have  : 


Domestic  servants  ..........  1262 

Housewives  and  day  laborers    ....  937 

Housewives  .............  568 

Day  laborers,  maids,  etc  .......  297 


37.0  per  cent. 
27.0        " 
17.0        " 
9.0        " 


Laborers  (Ordinary). 
Common  Laborers  ......  493      Casual  Laborers    .......    12 

Porters    ...........  274      Miscellaneous  Laborers  ....      4 

Laborers  for  City     ......    47  _ 

Bootblacks     .........    22  852 

Miscellaneous. 
Rag  Pickers  .........      6      Prize  Fighter    ........      I 

"Politicians"    ...    .....      2  _ 

Root  Doctors     -   .......      2  u 

8  This  includes  12  housewives  who  also  work. 


Sect.  22.]      Occupations  in  the  Seventh  Ward.  103 

In  skilled  trades    .   .   .   .   » 221  6.0   per  cent. 

Conducting  businesses 63  2.0        " 

Clerks,  etc 40  i.o        " 

Learned  professions 37  i.o        " 

3425           100  per  cent. 
Total  female  population  21  and  over 3740.  * 

Leaving  out  housewives  who  do  no  outside  work  and 
scheduling  all  women  over  twenty-one  who  have  gainful 
occupations,  we  have : 


4  A  more  detailed  list  of  the  occupations  of  female  Negroes,  twenty-one 
years  of  age  and  over,  living  in  the  Seventh  Ward  in  1896,  is  as  follows  : 

Entrepreneurs. 

Caterers 18      Undertakers 3 

Restaurant  Keepers 17      Child-Nursery  Keepers ....      3 

Merchants 17  — 

Employment  Agents 5  63 

Learned  Professions. 

Teachers 22      Students 7 

Trained  Nurses 8  — 

37 
Skilled  Trades. 

Dressmakers 204      Manicure i 

Hairdressers 6      Barber I 

Milliners 3      Typesetter i 

Shrouders  of  Dead 4  

Apprentice i  221 

Clerks^  Semi-Professional  and  Responsible  Workers. 

Musicians 12      Matrons 2 

Clerks      10      Actress        i 

Stewardesses 4      Missionary I 

Housekeepers 4  — 

Agents 3  4° 

Stenographers 3 

Laborers,  etc. 

Housewives  and  Day  Workers  .  937      Janitresses 22 

Day  Workers 128      Factory  Employe I 

Public  Cooks 72      Office  Maids 12 

Seamstresses 48  

Waitresses  in  Restaurants,  etc.    14  1234 

Servants. 
Domestic  Servants 1262 


104 


The  Occupations  of  Negroes.       [Chap.  IX. 


Professions 37 

Working  on  own  account 63 

In  trades     221 

Clerks  and  agents,  etc. 40 

Day  workers,  janitresses,  seamstresses,  cooks,  etc 1234 

Servants 1262 

2857 

The  following  tables  gather  up  all  these  statistics  and 
give  full  returns  with  distinctions  of  age  and  sex  : 

OCCUPATIONS— FEMALES,  TEN  YEARS  OF  AGE  AND  OVER.    SEVENTH  WARD,  1896. 


Occupations. 

o  Years. 

i  Years. 

e 

tn 

c5 

fe' 

at 

t 

0} 

8 

rt 

B 

rt 

s 

rt 

19  Years. 

20  Years. 

21-30  Years. 

31-40  Years. 

Over  40  Years. 

Unknown 
Age. 

Total. 

a 

OJ 

I* 

H 

•Qp 

S-o 
rtc 

8* 

> 

> 

ro 

!* 

•«fr 

?» 

1/5 

!* 

VO 

r» 

l-N 

i* 

00 

At  school  

52 
5 

0 

0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 

55 
3 

0 

0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 

56 

5 

0 
0 

I 

0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 

55 
3 

0 

0 
0 

3 

0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 

36 

9 

0 

0 
0 

7 

0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 

o 

0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 

"o 

0 

24 
16 

0 

I 

0 

II 

0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 

?6 

I 

0 

I 

22 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 

o 

0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 

o 

0 
0 
0 

19 

23 

3 
I 

28 

4 

0 

I 

0 
0 
2 
0 
0 
0 

I 

0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
2 

4 

22 

4 

I 
6 

33 
I 

0 

I 
I 

2 
0 
0 
0 

4 

0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 

I 

I 

13 

II 

4 
5 
43 

0 

I 

2 

0 

I 

2 
0 

I 

3 

0 

I 
I 

0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
2 

2 

8 

19 

5 

4 

I 

0 

I 
I 
I 

0 

I 
5 

3 

I 

2 

1 

0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 

3 

5 

I 

0 

I 

335 

7 

At  home  . 

Housewives    
Housewives    and    day 
workers    
Day    workers  ...... 
Domestic  service 

246 

255 

54 
66  1 

0 

7 

12 

3 

17 

5 

0 

23 

78 

12 

6 

5 
I 

0 

3 
3 

2 
0 

I 
1 

0 

I 
I 

0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 

51 

128 

329 

24 

347 
I 

7 
I 

J 

6 
I 

12 

68 

0 

6 
4 
8 
I 
I 

0 
0 

8 

0 
2 

0 

I 

0 

I 

2 

3 
I 

0 

I 

I 

2 

I 

3 
I 

2 

26 

187 

344 

46 

240 

0 

8 
o 
4 

27 

I 
5 

13 

57 

0 

4 

0 

4 
I 

2 

4 
o 

0 
0 

I 

0 
0 
2 

4 

2 

I 

0 
2 
2 

0 
2 

0 

I 
II 

7 

9 

4 

14 

0 

0 

I 

0 
0 
0 
0 
0 

I 

0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 

I 

0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 

I 

0 

12 

38 

12 
20 

211 

6 

I 
5 

2 

4 
4 
I 
6 

10 
2 

3 

2 

0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 
0 

8 

568 

937 

128 

1262 
I 

22 

14 

12 

72 

12 

6 

48 

204 

I 

22 
10 

17 

3 

8 
3 
18 

4 
3 
I 

2 

r 

2 

4 
7 
3 

I 
I 
3 
4 
I 
5 

2 

3 

100 

Apprentice  to  trade  .  .  . 
Tanitresses  . 

Public  waitresses  .... 
Office  and  public  maids  . 
Public  cooks  ,  .  . 

Musicians  

Hairdressers  
Seamstresses  
Dressmakers 

Actress  

Teachers  
Clerks  

Restaurant  keepers  .  .  . 
Milliners  

Nursery  keepers  
Trained  nurses  
Agents  (beneficial  soc.)  . 
Cater  esses  

Shrouders  of  dead  .... 
Stenographers  .  .  . 

Factory  employee  .... 
Matron  (of  Home)  .... 
Manicure. 

M  erchants—  Cigar  store  . 
Groceries  .  . 
Notions,  etc. 
Fuel    .... 
Hardware.  . 
Barber  

Undertakers  
Stewardesses  
Missionary  
Prop.    Employment  Ag. 
Typesetters    • 
Housekeepers   .... 

Prostitutes 

Sect.  22.]      Occupations  in  the  Seventh  Ward.  105 

OCCUPATIONS— MAI,ES,  TEN  TO  TWENTY-ONE  YEARS  OF  AGE. 
SEVENTH  WARD,  1896. 


Occupations. 

10  Years 

ii  Years 

12  Years 

13  Years 

14  Years 

£ 

J 

10 

16  Years 

17  Years 

18  Years. 

19  Years 

20  Years 

1 

Total  boys  at  Riven  age    
Total  in  school  

49 
44 

39 

45 

•»Q 

i« 

45 

«c 

39 

22 

53 

ox 

5« 

55 

A 

56 

2 

67 
o 

31 

Total  at  home   

c 

I 

I 

2 

J  I 

Q 

2 

0 

$ 

Actors              .      .                    . 

0 

O 

0 

0 

J 

0 

i 

2 

Apprentices  to  trades    

o 

o 

o 

o 

0 

0 

0 

j 

I 

i 

6 

o 

o 

o 

o 

o 

o 

0 

0 

0 

I 

o 

i 

Bartender    

o 

o 

o 

o 

0 

0 

0 

0 

0 

j 

o 

i 

Bookbinder                     . 

0 

o 

0 

0 

0 

0 

J 

0 

O 

0 

i 

Bootblacks  .  «  

o 

o 

o 

o 

0 

I 

I 

2 

I 

I 

o 

6 

o 

0 

o 

o 

o 

0 

o 

o 

o 

2 

o 

2 

Drivers  for  Doctors 

o 

o 

0 

0 

o 

0 

o 

I 

0 

I 

5. 

o 

o 

2 

2 

4 

2 

fi 

6 

5 

I 

2 

33 

Factory  laborer    

0 

o 

o 
o 

O 

o 

O 

o 

0 

o 

o 
o 

o 

o 

0 

I 

o 
o 

I 

I 

0 

o 

i 

2 

laborers  

0 

0 

o 

I 

0 

0 

I 

3 

12 

12 

II 

40 

Peddlers  

o 

o 

o 

o 

o 

o 

I 

0 

I 

I 

I 

5 
4 

o 

o 

o 

o 

o 

o 

o 

o 

I 

I 

I 

3 

0 

o 

I 

o 

X 

4 

5 

IO 

15 

IT 

70 

67 

Rubber  worker                   .      .  . 

o 

o 

o 

o 

o 

o 

o 

o 

o 

I 

0 

I 

Sailor  

o 

o 

o 

o 

o 

o 

o 

I 

o 

O 

o 

i 

Service  (domestic)      .             ... 

o 

o 

I 

2 

o 

o 

i 

II 

7 

7 

Tfi 

47 

Service  (public)    

o 

o 

o 

o 

o 

I 

I 

I 

3 

5 

a 

19 

Shoemakers                .             ... 

o 

o 

o 

o 

o 

o 

o 

o 

o 

o 

X 

i 

o 

o 

o 

0 

o 

I 

0 

X 

? 

0 

2 

7 

Typewriters  

o 

o 

o 

O 

0 

o 

0 

I 

0 

i 

O 

2 

OCCUPATIONS — MALES,  TWENTY-ONE  YEARS  AND  OVER. 
SEVENTH  WARD,  1896. 


Occupations. 

21-30 
Years. 

31-40 
Years. 

41  and 
over. 

Unk. 
Age. 

Total. 

Actors      

4 
6 

I 

2 

3 

6 

.    . 

6 

15 
i 

64 
5 

43 

2 
22 

II 

3 

i 

4 
I 

i 

2 

I 
I 
I 
I 

5 

I 

Agents  (ins.  societies  and  drummers) 

28 
2 
32 

I 

15 

21 

3 

10 

I 
6 

7 

15 

I 

i 

4 

i 

-    • 

Bootblacks     

2 

I 

i 
i 

3 

T 
I 

I 

2 

*    • 

i 

I 

i 
i 

2 
I 

I 

io6 


The  Occupations  of  Negroes.        [Chap.  IX. 


OCCUPATIONS— Continued. 


Occupations. 

21-30 
Years. 

31-40 
Years. 

41  and 
over. 

Uuk. 
Age. 

Total. 

I 
I 
II 
I 
17 
7 
3 
I 

I 
18 

'36 

I 
2 

65 

I 

39 
18 
8 

3 
i 

2 

3 

12 
I 
2 

13 
22 
I 
I 

3 
i 
i 
16 

37 
44 
79 
i 

2 

94 
i 

3 
i 
i 

12 
2 
2 

7 
32 
37 
410 

3 

47 

2 

6 

33 
20 
i 

2 

4 
14 

IO 

23 

74 

Candy-makers                                   .   . 

Caterers  .   .              ...              ... 

Cliemist             ... 

Ci.gar-mak.ers     .....              ... 

17 

4 
I 

2 
I 
2 
2 

I 

4 
7 
4 

i 
I 

2 
I 

I 

Clerks                         ...               ... 

Clerks  (in  public  service)  

Clerks  (shipping)     

Conductor  (railroad)*.  .       

Dairymen   

Dancing-masters  

I 
10 

Drivers  (for  doctor)        

Dyer           ... 

Errand  boys  

2 

7 
16 
i 

4 
5 

Engineers  (stationary)           

Elevator  men    ..... 

Editor                                      .           .   . 

Florist                           

i 

I 

1 
I 
IO 
II 
29 

45 

i 

3 

i 

7 

7 
4 
1  20 

'  2*8 

i 
i 

12 

3 

i 

5 
3 

8 

21 
I 

2 

Frame-makers      

2 
I 

Gold  beater  .   .           .    . 

Gamblers    

4 

12 

21 
27 

3 
15 

12 

23 
I 
I 
20 

Hostlers         

Hod  carriers      .   . 

Inspector  of  furniture     

Ice  carvers  .                      .    .           ... 

I 
29 

Janitors   .....       

Kalsominer    ...               ...       .    . 

Ivodging-house  keepers  

landlord    .    .           

Locksmith      .       

I 

4 

4 
7 
10 

120 
I 

9 
I 

2 
10 

7 

Laborers  (casual)     

I 
2 
2 

3 
19 
33 
149 

2 

9 

0 

3 
9 

10 

(soap  factory)  

(furnace-setters)     

(on  buildings)  ...        ... 

(  brick  vard)  

(on  streets)  

(general)  

(farm)    ....           .       .    . 

(water  works  and  gas,  etc.)  . 
L/aundrymen  .           ... 

Managers  and  foremen  

Messengers     

Musicians                   .    .               ... 

Manufacturers  ... 

Nurses     

I 

2 

5 
3 
3 
135 

i 

2 

4 
4 

Oyster  openers  

Packers  (china)    

Painters  

Paper-hanger    .   .    , 

Porters            ... 

77 

60 

2 

*  Intermarried  white  man. 


Sect.  22.]     Occupations  in  the  Seventh  Ward. 


107 


OCCUPATIONS — Continued. 


Occupations. 

21-30 
Years. 

31-40 
Years. 

41  and 
over. 

Unk. 
Age. 

Total. 

Politicians  .,  

X 

I 

2 

Photographers  

I 

I 

2 

Plasterers   

•i 

3 

Printers  .       

6 

I 

2 

O 

Proprietors  —  Hotels  and  restaurants  . 
Bxpress  business    .   .   . 
Printing  office     .       -  - 

6 
3 

6 

4 
I 

10 

7 

22 

14 

4 

Cigar  store    

I 

6 

7 

i 

i 

Store,  notions  and  fuel, 
Grocery                 .    .   .   . 

3 
I 

9 
i 

10 

2 

22 

4 

Bmployment  agency  .  . 

I 

i 

I 
IO 

3 
15 

Newspaper                  .   . 

i 

i 

2 

I 

3 

i 

7 

2 

2 

I 

5 

A 

8 

IO 

22 

Physicians     .   .       ... 

2 

I 

•I 

6 

i 

2 

3 

5 

5 

pilot    .   .           '   

I 

i 

i 

i 

2 

I 

3 

I 

i 

2 

4 

6 

Real  estate  agents   .       ....... 

I 

2 

3 

Root  doctors                 

I 

I 

2 

288 

161 

123 

10 

582 

Hotel  and  restaurants,  etc,  . 
Public  waiters  (with  caterers) 

205 

126 

15 
14 

72 
13 

9 

II 
I 

414 
38 
3i 

Students  

13 

4 

. 

17 

14 

3 

3 

I 

21 

I 

i 

2 

.      « 

4 

4 

i 

13 

18 

64 

60 

40 

164 

i 

I 

3 

i 

. 

i 

i 

I 

I 

3 

,      , 

4 

63 

3» 

32 

I 

134 

2 

I 

4 

7 

4 

I 

i 

6 

I 

4 

9 

14 

i 

i 

L,et  us  now  glance  at  the  occupations  as  a  whole :  of  the 
9675  Negroes  in  the  Seventh  Ward,  1212  are  children  nine 
years  of  age  or  less.  Of  the  remaining  8463  there  are  : 


io8 


The  Occupations  of  Negroes.         [Chap.  IX. 


At  work 6,6ro 

In  school 609 

Housewives 568 

Known  criminals 1 16 

Unoccupied,  at  home,  defective,  unknown,  etc 560 

8,463 

Tlie  6610  at  work  are  distributed  as  follows : 

Professions 101 

Working  on  own  account 268 

In  trades 492 

Clerks,  semi-professional  and  responsible  workers  ....  216 

Laborers  (select) 778 

Laborers  (ordinary) 2,111 

Servants 2,644 

6,610 


We  can  grasp  the  true  meaning  of  these  figures  only  by 
comparing  the  distribution  of  occupations  among  the 
Negroes  with  that  of  the  total  population  of  the  city ;  for 
this  purpose  we  must  redistribute  the  occupations  accord 
ing  to  the  simpler,  but  in  many  respects  unsatisfactory, 
divisions  of  the  United  States  census.  We  then  have  : 


Total  population  over  TO  .  .  .  . 
Number  in  gainful  occupations  . 
Per  cent  in  gainful  occupations  . 


Whole  Population 

of  Philadelphia, 

1890. 


Number. 


847,283 
466,791 
55-1 


Negroes  of 

Seventh  Ward, 

1896. 


Number. 


8,463 
6,611 

78 


Per 
Cent. 


Engaged  in  agriculture 

Engaged  in  professional  service  .    .   . 

Engaged  in  domestic  and  personal 
service 

Engaged  in  trade  and  transportation 

Engaged  in  manufacturing  and  me 
chanical  industries 


6,497 
19,438 

106,129 
115,462 

219*265 


1.5 
4-2 

22.7 
24.7 

46.9 


ii 
130* 

4,889 
1, 006 

541 


.2 

2.0 

74-3 
15-3 

8.2 


*Omitting  24  students  21  years  of  age  and  over. 


Sect.  22.]    Occupations  in  the  Seventh  Ward. 
Illustrated  graphically,  this  is  : 

A 


109 


WHOLE  POPULATION 
OF  PHILA. 


NEGROES 
OF  7  TR  WARD 


Comparing  the  whole  population  with  the  Negroes  of 
the  Seventh  Ward  by  sex,  we  have : 


1.9 


3.9 


173 


29.5 


47.4 


TOTAL  MALES 
OF  ALL  COLORS. 


MALE  NEGROES 
7T»  WARD 


mow 

iECHANICAL  INDUSTRIES 


2J5% 


61.5% 


7.7° 


4.8 


37.9 


11.4 


45B 


TOTAL    FEMALES 
OF  ALL  COLORS. 


FEMALE  NEGROES 
7T?  WARD 


TRA|DE  *|TRAN5PORTAT1ON 

ECHANICAL  INDUSTRIES 


In  these  statistics  and  tables  we  have  first  to  notice  the 
large  proportion  of  these  people  who  work  for  a  living ; 
taking  the  population  ten  years  of  age  and  over,  and  we 
have  78  per  cent  for  the  Negroes  of  the  Seventh  Ward, 
and  55.1  per  cent  for  the  whole  city,  white  and  colored. 
This  is  an  indication  of  an  absence  of  accumulated  wealth, 


no 


The  Occupations  of  Negroes.        [Chap.  IX. 


arising-  from  poverty  and  low  wages;  the  general  causes  of 
poverty  are  largely  historical  and  well  known ;  to  appre 
ciate  the  cause  of  low  wages,  we  have  only  to  see  the 
few  occupations  to  which  the  Negroes  are  practically 
limited,  and  imagine  the  competition  that  must  ensue. 
This  is  true  among  the  men,  and  especially  true  among 
the  women,  where  the  limitation  is  greatest.  All  the 
forces  that  are  impelling  white  women  to  become  bread 
winners,  are  emphasized  in  the  case  of  Negro  women  :  their 
chances  of  marriage  are  decreased  by  the  low  wages  of  the 
men  and  the  large  excess  of  their  own  sex  in  the  great 
cities ;  they  must  work,  and  if  there  are  few  chances  open 
they  must  suffer  from  competition  in  wages.  Among  the 
men  low  wages  means  either  enforced  celibacy  or  irregular 
and  often  dissipated  lives,  or  homes  where  the  wife  and 
mother  must  also  be  a  bread-winner.  Statistics  curiously 
illustrate  this  ;  16.3  per  cent  of  the  native  white  women 


THE  WORKING  POPULATION  OF  PHILADELPHIA,  1890. 


Color,  etc. 

Number,  Ten  Years  of  Age  and 
over,  in  Gainful  Occupations. 

Per  Cent  of  Total  Popu 
lation  in  Gainful 
Occupations. 

Male. 

Female. 

Total. 

Male. 

Female 

Total. 

Whites. 
(Native,  with  native 
narents)         .   .   . 

122,332 
91,280 
13^50 

34,731 
39,618 

9,258 

157,063 
130,898 
22,908 

65 
58 

72 

16 

24 
43 

38 
40 
57 

(Native,  with  foreign 
parents)  

Colored  {Negro  and 
Chinese,  etc.)   .   . 

Total  Population  . 

344,143 

122,648 

466,791 

.    .     1     .    . 

of  native  parents  and  of  all  ages,  in  Philadelphia  are  bread 
winners  ; 5  their  occupations  are  restricted,  and  there  is 
great  competition ;  yet  among  Negro  women,  where  the 


5  A  better  comparison  here  would  be  made  by  finding  the  percentages 
of  the  population  above  10  years  of  age ;  statistics  unfortunately  are  not 
available  for  this. 


Sect.  23.]  Occupations  in  the  City.  in 

restriction  in  occupation  reaches  its  greatest  limit,  never 
theless  43  per  cent  are  bread-winners,  and  their  wages  are 
at  the  lowest  point  in  all  cases  save  in  some  lines  of  domes 
tic  service  where  custom  holds  them  at  certain  figures ; 
even  here,  however,  the  tendency  is  downward. 

The  causes  of  this  peculiar  restriction  in  employment  of 
Negroes  are  twofold:  first,  the  lack  of  training  and 
experience  among  Negroes  ;  second,  the  prejudice  of  the 
whites.  The  first  is  to  be  expected  in  some  degree,  although 
undoubtedly  carelessness  and  culpable  inefficiency  have 
played  their  part.  The  second  cause  will  be  discussed  at 
length,  later.  One  point,  however,  needs  mention :  the 
peculiar  distribution  of  employments  among  whites  and 
Negroes  makes  the  great  middle  class  of  white  people 
seldom,  if  ever,  brought  into  contact  with  Negroes — may 
not  this  be  a  cause  as  well  as  an  effect  of  prejudice? 

Another  noticeable  fact  is  the  absence  of  child-labor ; 
this  is  not  voluntary  on  the  part  of  the  Negroes,  but  due  to 
restricted  opportunity  ;  there  is  really  very  little  that  Negro 
children  may  do.  Their  chief  employment,  therefore,  is 
found  in  helping  about  the  house  while  the  mother  is  at 
work.  Thus  those  children  scheduled  as  at  home  repre 
sent  child-labor  in  many  cases. 

23.  Occupations  in  the  City. — Turning  from  the  more 
detailed  study  of  the  Seventh  Ward,  let  us  glance  in  a 
general  way  over  the  occupations  of  Negroes  in  the  city  at 
large. 

The  Professions. — The  learned  professions  are  represented 
among  Negroes  by  clergymen,  teachers,  physicians,  lawyers 
and  dentists,  in  the  order  named.  Practically  all  Negroes 
go  to  their  own  churches,  where  they  have,  save  in  a  very 
few  cases,  clergymen  of  their  own  race.  There  are  not  less 
than  sixty  Negro  ministers  in  the  city  (possibly  a  hundred) 
mostly  Methodists  and  Baptists,  with  three  or  four  Presby 
terians  and  two  Episcopalians.  The  Presbyterian  and 
Episcopalian  clergymen  are  well  trained  and  educated  men 


The  Occupations  of  Negroes.        [Chap.  IX. 

in  nearly  every  case.  The  ministers  of  the  African  Metho 
dists  vary ;  those  in  charge  of  the  larger  churches  are  all  men 
of  striking  personality,  with  genius  for  leadership  and 
organization  in  some  lines,  and  in  some  cases,  though  not 
in  all,  they  are  well-educated  men.  Practically  none  of 
them  are  illiterate.  The  Baptist  ministers  are  not  on  the 
whole  so  well  trained  as  the  Methodists,  although  some 
are  well-educated. 

Taken  on  the  average  the  Negro  ministers  of -the  city  are 
good  representatives  of  the  masses  of  the  Negroes.  They 
are  largely  chosen  by  the  masses,  must  cater  to  their 
tastes,  and  must  in  every  way  be  men  whom  the  rank  and 
file  of  the  race  like  and  understand.  Sometimes  a  strong 
personality,  like  the  late  Theodore  Miller,  will  take  a 
church  and  lift  it  to  a  high  level ;  usually  the  minister 
rather  follows  than  leads,  and  indicates  public  opinion 
among  his  people  rather  than  forms  it  The  Baptist  min 
ister  is  the  elected  chairman  of  a  pure  democracy,  who,  if 
he  can  command  a  large  enough  following,  becomes  a 
virtual  dictator ;  he  thus  has  the  chance  to  be  a  wise  leader 
or  a  demagogue,  or,  as  in  many  cases,  a  little  of  both.  The 
Methodist  minister  is  the  appointed  steward  of  a  large  cor 
poration,  of  which  his  particular  church  is  a  small  part. 
His  success  depends  upon  the  way  in  which  he  conducts 
this  church  :  his  financial  success,  his  efforts  to  increase 
church  membership  and  his  personal  popularity.  The 
result  is  that  the  colored  Methodist  minister  is  generally  a 
wide-awake  business  man,  with  something  of  the  politician 
in  his  make-up,  who  is  sometimes  an  inspiring  and  valuable 
leader  of  men;  in  other  cases  he  may  develop  into  a  loud 
but  wily  talker,  who  induces  the  mass  of  Negroes  to  put 
into  fine  church  edifices  money  which  ought  to  go  to  charity 
or  business  enterprise. 

Ministers  receive  from  $250  a  year,  in  small  missions,  to 
$1500  in  three  or  four  of  the  largest  churches.  The  aver 
age  would  be  between  $600  and  $1000. 


Sect.  23.] 


Occupations  in  the  City. 


Next  to  the  clergymen  come  the  teachers,  of  whom  there 
are  about  forty  in  the  city : 


School. 

Princi 
pals. 

Assistant 
Teachers 

Kinder- 
gartners. 

Indus'  1 
teachers. 

Institute  for  Colored  Youth  

2 

Q 

2 

O.  V.  Catto     

I 

6 

2 

Q 

Vaux    

I 

Q 

o 

J.  E.  Hill    

I 

J 

0 

Coulter  street    

j 

j 

o 

Q 

Wilmot   

j 

j 

Q 

Q 

House  of  Industry  ....*.. 

0 

Q 

Q 

James  Forten    

o 

o 

2 

o 

Berean  Church  

o 

0 

I 

0 

Total  

7 

25 

6 

2 

These  teachers  are  in  nearly  every  case  well  equipped 
and  have  made  good  records.  Save  in  the  kindergartens, 
or  in  one  or  more  temporary  cases,  they  teach  Negro  chil 
dren  exclusively.  The  public  school  teachers  receive  the 
same  pay  as  the  white  teachers.6 

The  Negro  physician  is  to-day  just  beginning  to  reap  the 
reward  of  a  long  series  of  attempts  and  failures.  At  first 
thought  it  would  seem  natural  for  Negroes  to  patronize 
Negro  merchants,  lawyers  and  physicians,  from  a  sense  of 
pride  and  as  a  protest  against  race  feeling  among  whites. 
When,  however,  we  come  to  think  further,  we  can  see 
many  hindrances.  If  a  child  is  sick,  the  father  wants  a 
good  physician  ;  he  knows  plenty  of  good  white  physicians  ; 
he  knows  nothing  of  the  skill  of  the  black  doctor,  for  the 
black  doctor  has  had  no  opportunity  to  exercise  his  skill. 
Consequently  for  many  years  the  colored  physician  had 
to  sit  idly  by  and  see  the  40,000  Negroes  healed  principally 
by  white  practitioners.  To-day  this  has  largely  changed, 
and  principally  through  the  efforts  of  the  younger  class  of 
doctors,  who  have  spared  no  pains  to  equip  themselves  at 
the  best  schools  of  the  country.  The  result  is  that  fully 
half  the  Negroes  employ  Negro  physicians,  and  to  a  small 
extent  these  physicians  practice  among  the  whites.  There 

6  This  has  been  the  case  only  in  comparatively  recent  times. 


Occupations  of  Negroes.        [Chap.  IX. 

are  still  many  of  the  old  class  of  root  doctors  and  patent 
medicine  quacks  with  a  lucrative  trade  among  Negroes.7 
Of  reputable  Negro  physicians  there  are  in  the  city  about 
fifteen,  graduated  as  follows  : 

University  of  Pennsylvania 5 

Hahnemann  (Homeopathic) 2 

Women's  Medical 2 

Medico-Chirurgical I 

Harvard I 

University  of  Michigan I 

Howard 2 

14 

Seven  of  these  have  good-sized  practice,  running  from 
$1500  a  year  to  $3000  or  more.  Five  others  have  practi 
cally  just  commenced  to  get  practice  and  are  doing  fairly 
well.  The  other  two  have  outside  work  and  have  a  limited 
practice.  There  are  many  medical  students  in  the  city,  and 
this  field  is  the  most  attractive  open  to  the  Negro  among 
the  learned  professions. 

In  contrast  to  the  fair  success  of  the  Negro  in  medicine 
is  his  partial  failure  in  law.  There  are  at  present  about  ten 
practicing  Negro  lawyers  in  the  city,  graduated  as  follows  : 

Howard 3 

University  of  Pennsylvania 4 

Unknown - 3 

Two  of  these  are  fairly  successful  practitioners — well 
versed  in  law,  with  some  experience,  and  a  small  but  steady 
practice.  Three  others  are  with  difficulty  earning  a  living 
at  criminal  practice  in  police  cases ;  and  the  rest  are 
having  little  or  no  practice.  This  failure  of  most  Negro 
lawyers  is  not  in  all  cases  due  to  lack  of  ability  and  push 
on  their  part.  Its  principal  cause  is  that  the  Negroes  furnish 
little  lucrative  law  business,  and  a  Negro  lawyer  will  seldom 
be  employed  by  whites.  Moreover,  while  the  work  of  a 
physician  is  largely  private,  depending  on  individual  skill, 


7  Negroes  also  buy  immense  quantities  of  patent  medicines,  etc. 


Sect.  23.]  Occupations  in  the  City.  115 

a  lawyer  must  have  co-operation  from  fellow  lawyers  and 
respect  and  influence  in  court ;  thus  prejudice  or  discrimi 
nation  of  any  kind  is  especially  felt  in  this  profession.  For 
these  reasons  Negro  lawyers  are  for  the  most  part  confined 
to  petty  criminal  practice  and  seldom  get  a  chance  to  show 
their  ability. 

There  are  three  Negro  dentists,  two  being  graduated 
from  first-class  institutions  and  enjoying  good  practice. 

On  the  whole,  the  professional  class  of  Negroes  is  cred 
itable  to  the  race.  The  teachers  and  physicians  would  bear 
comparison  with  any  race  ;  the  ranks  of  the  clergy  are 
overcrowded  and  they  present  all  degrees,  from  excellent 
and  well-trained  spiritual  guides  to  blatant  demagogues ; 
the  lawyers  have  little  chance  to  show  themselves. 

The  Entrepreneur — The  number  of  individual  under 
takers  of  business  enterprise  among  Negroes  is  small  but 
growing.  Let  us  first  take  the  Seventh  Ward  alone  and 
glance  over  the  field.  There  are  in  this  ward  twenty-three 
establishments  for  meals  and  other  entertainment,  varying 
from  a  small  one-room  restaurant  to  a  twenty-room  hotel  ; 
some  of  these  on  Lombard  and  South  streets  have  capacious 
dining-rooms  with  twenty  or  more  tables ;  some  are  little 
dark  places  with  two  or  three  dubious  looking  stands.  In 
length  of  establishment  they  vary :  eight  had  in  1896  been 
running  a  year  or  less  ;  four,  two  years  ;  two,  three  years  ; 
four,  from  four  to  eight  years.  They  represent  investments 
varying  from  $40  to  $1500,  and  employ  beside  the  pro 
prietors  between  fifty  and  one  hundred  persons  according 
to  the  season. 

There  are  in  the  Seventh  Ward  twenty-three  barber 
shops  varying  from  two  months  to  forty  years  in  length  of 
establishment ;  eight  are  from  three  to  five  years  old,  five 
over  ten  years  old.  They  employ  beside  the  proprietors 
from  twenty  to  forty  journeymen  more  or  less  regularly* 
A  shop  represents  an  investment  varying  from  $50  to  '$250 
or  more.  The  Negro  as  a  barber  is  rapidly  losing  ground 


u6  The  Occupations  of  Negroes.         [Chap.  IX. 

in  the  city.  It  is  difficult  to  say  why  this  has  occurred,  but 
there  are  several  contributory  reasons  :  first  the  calling  was 
for  so  long  an  almost  exclusively  Negro  calling  that  it 
came  in  for  a  degree  of  the  contempt  and  ridicule  poured 
on  Negroes  in  general ;  it  therefore  grew  very  unpopular 
among  Negroes,  and  apprentices  became  very  scarce.  To 
day  one  would  have  to  look  a  long  time  among  young  and 
aspiring  Negroes  to  find  one  who  would  willingly  become 
a  barber — it  smacks  perhaps  a  little  too  much  of  domestic 
service,  and  is  a  thing  to  fall  back  upon  but  not  to  aspire 
to.  In  the  second  place  the  business  became  unpopular 
with  Negroes  because  it  compels  them  to  draw  a  color  line. 
No  first-class  Negro  barber  would  dare  shave  his  own 
brother  in  his  shop  in  Philadelphia  on  account  of  the  color 
prejudice.  This  is  peculiarly  galling  and  has  led  to  much 
criticism  and  unpopularity  for  certain  leading  barbers 
among  their  own  people.  These  two  reasons  led  to  a  lack 
of  interest  and  enterprise  in  the  business  for  a  long  time 
and  it  needed  but  one  movement  to  hasten  the  collapse, 
that  is,  competition.  The  competition  of  German  and 
Italian  barbers  furnished  the  last  and  most  potent  reason 
for  the  withdrawal  of  the  Negro  ;  they  were  skilled  work 
men,  while  skilled  Negro  barbers  were  becoming  scarce  \ 
they  cut  down  the  customary  prices  and  some  of  them 
found  business  co-operation  and  encouragement  which 
Negroes  could  not  hope  for.  For  these  reasons  the  business 
is  slipping  from  the  Negro.  This  is  undoubtedly  a  calamity 
and  unless  the  Negro  in  spite  of  sentiment  awakens  in 
time  he  will  find  a  lucrative  employment  gone  and  nothing 
in  its  place.  Already  a  white  labor  union  movement  is 
beginning  to  crowd  the  Negro,  to  ask  for  legislation  which 
will  strike  him  most  forcibly  and  in  other  ways  to  bring 
organized  endeavor  to  bear  upon  disorganized  apathy. 

The  Seventh  Ward  has  thirteen  small  Negro  grocery 
stores.  They  are  mostly  new  ventures,  eight  being  less 
than  a  year  old  ;  four,  one  to  five  years  old,  and  one  fifteen 


Sect  23.]  Occupations  in  the  City.  117 

years  old.  Two  are  co-operative  enterprises  but  have  had 
no  great  success.  All  of  these  stores  with  two  or  three 
exceptions  are  really  experiments  and  most  of  them  will 
soon  go  to  the  wall  and  their  places  be  taken  by  others. 
The  six  smaller  shops  represent  investments  of  $25  to 
$50  ;  two  have  $50  and  $100  invested  ;  three  between  $100 
and  $200,  and  one  from  $500  to  $1000.  The  ambition  of 
the  middle  class  of  Negroes  lies  in  this  direction  and  their 
endeavors  are  laudable.  In  another  age  of  industrial 
development  they  would  have  already  constituted  them 
selves  a  growing  class  of  small  tradesmen  ;  but  to-day  the 
department  store  and  stock-company  make  the  competition 
too  great  for  people  with  so  little  commercial  training  and 
instinct.  Nevertheless  the  number  of  Negro  groceries  will 
undoubtedly  grow  considerably  in  the  next  decade. 

Next  come  fourteen  cigar  stores  representing  a  total 
investment  of  $1000  to  $1500  mostly  in  sums  of  $25,  $50 
and  $100.  These  stores  have  been  established  as  follows  : 
one  year  or  less,  six  ;  two  years,  four ;  three  to  sixteen  years, 
four.  They  sell  cigars  and  tobacco,  and  daily  papers;  some 
also  rent  bicycles,  or  have  a  boot-blacking  stand  or  pool 
room  attached.  One  of  the  proprietors  conducts,  beside  his 
cigar  store,  three  barber  shops  and  a  restaurant,  and 
employs  twenty  people.  Some  of  these  stores  are  finely 
equipped.  This  business  is  new  for  Negroes  and  growing ; 
a  few  women  have  ventured  into  it,  and  thus  in  some  cases 
it  furnishes  a  side  occupation  for  wives. 

There  are  four  candy  and  notion  shops  established 
respectively  five  months,  six  months,  one  year  and  three 
years,  and  each  representing  an  investment  of  $10  to  $100. 
They  are  in  most  cases  in  the  hands  of  women  and  do  a 
small  business.  There  are  also  numberless  places  for  selling 
fuel  of  all  kinds,  of  which  about  thirteen  rise  to  the  dignity 
of  shops.  They  represent  small  investments. 

Three  retail  liquor  shops  and  one  bottling  establishment 
are  conducted  by  colored  people,  representing  considerable 


n8  The  Occupations  of  Negroes.        [Chap.  IX, 

investments.  Two  of  the  saloons  are  old  and  well  con 
ducted,  and  financially  successful.  The  other  saloon  and 
the  bottling  establishment  are  not  very  successful. 

Four  large  employment  agencies  and  some  smaller  ones 
are  situated  in  the  ward.  They  conduct  lodging  houses 
and  in  some  cases  boarding  houses  in  connection.  One 
is  sixteen  years  old ;  all  hire  clerks.  Their  business 
is  to  act  as  agents  for  persons  desiring  servants,  and 
to  guide  unemployed  persons  to  situations ;  for  this 
they  charge  a  percentage  or  fixed  sum  out  of  the  wages. 
They  also  often  serve  as  homes  for  unemployed  servants, 
giving  them  board  and  lodging,  sometimes  on  credit. 
Their  work  is  thus  useful  and  lucrative  when  properly 
conducted  as  in  two  or  three  establishments.  In  one 
or  two  others,  however,  there  is  some  suspicion  of  unfair 
dealing ;  servants  are  attracted  from  the  South  by  catchy 
advertisements  and  personal  letters,  only  to  find  themselves 
eventually  penniless  and  out  of  work  in  a  large  city.8 
Questionable  acquaintanceships  are  also  made  at  the 
agencies  at  times,  which  lead  to  ruin.  These  agencies 
need  strict  regulation. 

There  are  four  undertaking  establishments,  two  of  which 
are  conducted  by  women.  They  represent  investments  of 
$iooo-$io,ooo  and  two  of  them  do  a  business  which  proba 
bly  aggregates  $8000  or  more  annually  in  each  case.  They 
are  all  old  establishments — six  to  thirty-three  years — and  in 
no  branch  of  business,  save  one,  has  the  Negro  evinced  so 
much  push,  taste  and  enterprise.  Two  of  the  establish 
ments  will,  in  equipment,  compare  favorably  with  the 
white  businesses  in  the  city  ;  indeed,  in  fair  competition 
they  have  gained  the  great  bulk  of  Negro  and  some  white 
patronage  from  white  competitors. 

Three  bakeries,  established  two  and  three  years  respect- 

8  In  Norfolk,  Va.,  I  once  saw  the  advertisement  on  a  street  sign  calling 
for  colored  "clerks,  saleswomen,  stenographers/'  etc.,  for  Northern 
cities! 


Sect.  23.]  Occupations  in  the  City.  119 

ively  are  having  moderate  success.  Six  printing  offices 
established,  one,  six  months,  the  others  four  to  seven  years, 
do  job  work  on  small  presses;  two  publish  weekly  papers. 
These  shops  are  fairly  successful  and  get  considerable  work 
from  the  colored  people.  One  dressmaker  has  a  shop  with 
$150  invested;  another  runs  a  dressmaking  school. 

Four  upholsterers  have  shops,  old  and  well  established, 
and  all  do  a  good  business ;  in  two  cases  the  business 
amounts  to  two  to  five  thousand  a  year.  One  sells 
antique  furniture  also. 

There  are  a  large  number  of  caterers  in  the  ward — eighty- 
three9  in  all.  Most  of  these,  however,  do  a  small  busi 
ness,  and  in  some  cases  have  other  work  also  for  at  least  a 
part  of  the  year.  Of  the  principal.caterers  there  are  about 
ten,  of  whom  the  doyen  was  the  late  Andrew  F.  Stevens. 10 
These  ten  caterers  do  a  large  business,  amounting  in  some 
cases  probably  to  $3000  to  $5000  a  year.  They  have  a  small 
co-operative  store  on  Thirteenth  street,  with  a  considerable 
stock  of  dishes,  and  such  things  as  olives,  pickles,  etc. 
This  is  conducted  by  a  manager  and  has  one  hundred  or 
more  members.  There  is  also  a  caterers'  association,  which 
is  really  a  trades  union.  Its  club  room  serves  as  a  clearing 
house  for  business  and  the  employment  of  waiters.  This 
has  been  running  ten  years.  The  catering  business  presents 
many  interesting  phases  to  the  economist  and  sociologist. 
Undoubtedly  the  pre-eminence  of  Negroes  in  this  business 
has  declined  since  the  Augustins,  Jones  and  Dorsey  passed. 
Negro  caterers  are  still  prominent,  but  they  do  not 
by  any  means  dominate  the  field,  as  then.  The  chief 
reason  for  this  is  the  change  that  has  come  over  American 


9  This  total  includes  a  large  number  of  men  and  women  who  do  some 
private  catering,  but  for  the  most  part  work  under  other  caterers;  strictly 
a  large  part  of  them  are  waiters  rather  than  caterers. 

10  Mr.  Stevens  died  in  1898 — he  was  an  honest,  reliable,  business  man — 
of  pleasant  address,   and    universally  respected.     He    was  easily  the 
successor  of  Dorsey,  Jones  and  Minton  in  the  catering  business. 


120  The  Occupations  of  Negroes.        [Chap.  IX. 

fashionable  society  in  the  last  twenty-five  years,  and  the 
application  of  large  capital  to  the  catering  business. 
Philadelphia  society  is  no  longer  a  local  affair,  but  receives 
its  cue  as  to  propriety  and  fashion  from  New  York,  Lon 
don  and  Paris  ;  consequently  the  local  caterers  can  no 
longer  dictate  fashion  for  any  single  American  city  ;  more 
than  this,  demands  have  so  risen  with  increasing  wealth 
that  catering  establishments  like  Delmonico's,  which  would 
keep  in  the  front  rank,  represent  a  large  investment  of 
capital — investments  far  beyond  the  power  of  the  local 
Negro  caterers  of  Philadelphia.  Thus  we  find  a  large 
business  built  up  by  talent  and  tact,  meeting  with  changed 
social  conditions  ;  the  business  must  therefore  change  too. 
It  is  the  old  development  from  the  small  to  the  large 
industry,  from  the  house-industry  to  the  concentrated 
industry,  from  the  private  dining  room  to  the  palatial  hotel. 
If  the  Negro  caterers  of  Philadelphia  had  been  white, 
some  of  them  would  have  been  put  in  charge  of  a  large 
hotel,  or  would  have  become  co-partners  in  some  large 
restaurant  business,  for  which  capitalists  furnished  funds, 
For  such  business  co-operation,  however,  the  time  was  not 
ripe,  and  perhaps  only  a  few  of  the  best  Negro  caterers 
would  have  been  capable  of  entering  into  it  with  success. 
As  it  was,  the  change  in  fashion  and  mode  of  business 
changed  the  methods  of  the  Negro  caterers  and  their 
clientele.  They  began  to  serve  the  middle  class  instead 
of  the  rich  and  exclusive,  their  prices  had  to  become  more 
reasonable,  and  their  efforts  to  excel  had  consequently  fewer 
incentives.  Moreover,  they  now  came  into  sharp  competi 
tion  with  a  class  of  small  white  caterers,  who,  if  they 
were  worse  cooks,  were  better  trained  in  the  tricks  of  the 
trade.  Then,  too,  with  this  new  and  large  clientele  that  per 
sonal  relationship  between  the  caterer  and  those  served  was 
broken  up,  and  a  larger  place  for  color  prejudice  was  made. 
It  is  thus  plain  that  a  curious  economic  revolution  in 
one  industry  has  gone  on  during  twenty-nine  years,  not 


Sect.  23.]  Occupations  in  the  City.  131 

unaccompanied  by  grave  social  problems.  In  this  case  the 
Negro  has  emerged  in  better  condition  and  has  shown  more 
capacity  for  hand-to-hand  economic  encounter  than,  for 
instance,  in  the  barbering  business.  Yet  he  has  not  emerged 
unscathed  ;  in  every  such  battle,  when  a  Negro  is  fighting 
for  an  economic  advantage,  there  is  ever  a  widespread 
feeling  among  all  his  neighbors  that  it  is  inexpedient  to 
allow  this  class  to  became  wealthy  or  even  well-to-do. 
Consequently  the  battle  always  becomes  an  Athanasius 
contra  mundum,  where  almost  unconsciously  the  whole 
countenance  and  aid  of  the  community  is  thrown  against 
the  Negro. 

The  three  Negro  cemetery  companies  of  the  city  have 
their  headquarters  in  the  Seventh  Ward.  They  arose  from 
the  curious  prejudice  of  the  whites  against  allowing 
Negroes  to  be  buried  near  their  dead.  The  companies 
hold  valuable  property  and  are  fairly  well  conducted. u 
There  are  several  expressmen  in  the  ward  owning  their 
own  outfits ;  one  has  been  established  twenty-five  years  ; 
he  has  three  or  four  wagons  and  hires  four  or  five  men 
regularly.  There  was  in  1896  a  hardware  and  furniture 
business  forty-seven  years  old,  on  South  street,  but  the 
proprietor,  Robert  Adger,  has  since  died. 12  There  are 


11  When  tlie  caterer  Henry  Jones  died  his  funeral  procession  was 
actually  turned  back  from  the  cemetery  by  the  refusal  of  the  authorities 
of  Mt  Moriah  Cemetery  to  allow  him  interment  there;  he  had  before  his 
death  bought  and  paid  for  a  lot  in  the  cemetery  and  the  Supreme  Court 
eventually  confirmed  his  title.     To-day  this  absurd  prejudice  is  not  so 
strong  and  Negroes  own  lots  in  the  Episcopal  Cemetery  of  St.  James  the 
Less  and  in  perhaps  one  other. 

12  The  following  clipping  from  the  Philadelphia  Ledger,  Novembers, 
1896,  illustrates  a  typical  life: 

"  Robert  Adger,  a  colored  Abolitionist,  died  on  Saturday,  at  his  home, 
835  South  street.  He  was  born  a  slave,  in  Charleston,  S.  C.,  in  1813. 
His  mother,  who  was  born  in  New  York,  went  to  South  Carolina  about 
1810,  with  some  of  her  relatives,  and  while  there  was  detained  as  a  slave. 

"When  his  master  died,  Mr.  Adger,  together  with  his  mother  and  other 
members  of  the  family,  were  sold  at  auction,  but,  through  the  assistance 


122 


The  Occupations  of  Negroes.         [Chap.  IX. 


several  bicycle  shops,  a  flourishing  milk,  butter  and  egg 
store,  a  china  repairing  shop,  of  long  standing;  a  hair  goods 
store,  a  rubber  goods  repairing  shop,  seventeen  years  old; 
a  second-hand  stove  store  and  two  patent  medicine  shops. 
To  test  the  accuracy  of  these  statistics  and  to  note 
changes,  a  second  visit  was  made  in  this  ward  in  1897,  with 
this  result : 

NEGRO  BUSINESS  ESTABLISHMENTS,  SEVENTH  WARD,  1896-97. 


Business. 

1896  (Dec.) 

1897  (Oct.) 

Restaurants  

23 

2Q 

Barber  shops    ....           .    .                         .   . 

27 

OA 

Grocery  stores  .... 

11 

II 

Cigar  stores  ,   .          ... 

IA. 

II 

Candy  and  notions  

A 

2 

Shoemaker  shops    ... 

8 

T2 

Upholsterers     ... 

4" 

liquor  saloons     

2 

Undertakers     

4 

Newspapers  ...              .   .       

2 

I 

Drug  store    

o 

I 

Patent  medicine  stores  ...                            .   . 

2 

2 

Printing  offices    

4 

4 

Such  small  businesses  represent  the  efforts  of  a  class  of 
poor  people  to  save  capital.1*  They  are  all  alike  hindered 
by  three  great  drawbacks:  First,  the  Negro  never  was 
trained  for  business  and  can  get  no  training  now ;  it  is  very 
seldom  that  a  Negro  boy  or  girl  can  on  any  terms  get  a 


of  friends,  legal  proceedings  were  instituted,  and  their  release  finally 
secured.  Mr.  Adger  then  came  to  this  city  about  1845,  and  secured  a 
position  as  a  waiter  in  the  old  Merchants*  Hotel.  Later  he  was  employed 
as  a  nurse,  and  while  working  in  that  capacity,  saved  enough  money  to 
start  in  the  furniture  business  on  South  street,  above  Eighth,  which  he 
continued  to  conduct  with  success  until  his  death.  Mr.  Adger  always 
took  an  active  interest  in  the  welfare  of  the  people  of  his  race." 

13  One  enterprising  capitalist  hires  and  sub-rents  eight  different  houses 
with,  furnished  apartments,  paying  $1944  annually  in  rent;  he  has  a 
bicycle  shop  which  brings  in  $  1000  a  year  for  an  expen  se  of  about  $ 330. 
He  also  owns  a  barber  shop  which  brings  in  about  $1000  a  year;  one-half 
the  gross  receipts  of  this  he  pays  to  a  foreman,  who  pays  his  journeymen 
barbers;  the  owner  pays  foj  rent  and  material.  "  If  I  had  an  education/' 
he  said,  "  I  could  get  on  better." 


Sect.  23.]  Occupations  in  the   City. 

position  in  a  store  or  other  business  establishment  where 
he  can  learn  the  technique  of  the  work  or  general  business 
methods.  Second,  Negro  merchants  are  so  rare  that  it  is 
natural  for  customers,  both  white  and  colored,  to  take  it  for 
granted  that  their  business  is  poorly  conducted  without 
giving  it  a  trial.14  Third,  the  Negroes  are  unused  to 
co-operation  with  their  own  people  and  the  process  of 
learning  it  is  long  and  tedious.  Hitherto,  their  economic 
activities  have  been  directed  almost  entirely  to  the  satis 
faction  of  wants  of  the  upper  classes  of  white  people,  and, 
too,  of  personal  and  household  wants  ;  they  are  just  begin- 
ing  to  realize  that  within  their  own  group  there  is  a  vast 
field  for  development  in  economic  activity.  The  40,000 
Negroes  of  Philadelphia  need  food,  clothes,  shoes,  hats  and 
furniture;  these  by  proper  thrift  they  see  ought  to  be  in  part 
supplied  by  themselves,  and  the  little  business  ventures  we 
have  noticed  are  attempts  in  this  direction.  These 
attempts  would,  however,  be  vastly  more  successful  in 
another  economic  age.  To-day,  as  before  noted,  the  appli 
cation  of  large  capital  to  the  retail  business,  the  gathering 
of  workmen  into  factories,  the  wonderful  success  of  trained 
talent  in  catering  to  the  whims  and  taste  of  customers 
almost  precludes  the  effective  competition  of  the  small 
store.  Thus  the  economic  condition  of  the  day  militates 
largely  against  the  Negro  ;  it  requires  more  skill  and  ex 
perience  to  run  a  small  store  than  formerly  and  the  large 
store  and  factory  are  virtually  closed  to  him  on  any  terms. 
Turning  now  to  the  other  wards  of  the  city  let  us  notice 
some  of  the  chief  business  ventures  of  the  Negroes.  This 
list  is  by  no  means  exhaustive,  but  it  is  representative  : 


14  Several  storekeepers  have  had  white  persons  enter  the  store,  look  at 
the  proprietors  and  say  "  Oh !  I — er — made  a  mistake,"  and  go  out. 


124 


The  Occupations  of  Negroes.        [  Chap.  IX. 


Ward. 


Character  of  Business. 


No.  Estab 
lishments. 


Second.          Harness  shop 

Third.           Grocery  stores 3 

Barber  shop i 

Fourth.          Barbershops       5 

Second-hand  clothing i 

Second-hand  furniture i 

Coal  and  wood  shops 4 

Newspaper i 

Restaurants |  10 

Hair  goods  and  dressmaking I 

Expressmen ^ 5 

Decorating  and  paper-hanging i 

Job  printer i 

Shoe  repair  shops 3 

Candy  store  (manufacture) I 

Cigar  stores . 2 

Crockery  store I  i 

Second-hand  stoves !  i 

Fifth.            Barber  shops j  7 

Pool-room j  i 

Shoeblacking  shop j  r 

Restaurants j  8 

Undertaker I 

Fuel  and  notions 2 

Cigar  store x 

Publishing  house  (books  and  papers)      •    •    -  |  I 

Blacksmith  and  wheelwright I 

Eighth.          Florist i 

Watch  repairer 

Newspaper  and  job  printing  ........  |  i 

Undertaker !  I 

Hotel  and  liquor  saloon j  i 

Barber  shops j  9 

Upholsterers i  2 

Rag  warehouse i 

Restaurants 5 

Fuel  and  newspaper  shop I 

Grocery  store !  I 

Cigar  stores j  2 

Employment  bureau j  i 

Hair  dresser  for  ladies I 

Fourteenth.      Barber j  i 

Grocery  store i  i 

Upholsterer j  i 

Dealer  in  mineral  water i 

Second-hand  furniture  store  .....    ...j  i 

Fuel  and  candy  store |  i 

Restaurants !  2 

Twentieth.       Tailor  shop i 

Shoe-repairing  shop i 

Barbershops '  2 


Sect.  23.] 


Occupations  in  the  City. 


Ward. 


Character  of  Business. 


No. 

lishments. 


Twenty-         Real  estate  agent i 

seventh.          Meat  dealer  (wholesale) I 

Fifteenth        Carpet  cleaning  works i 

and             Meat  and  provisions i 

Twenty-ninth.    Barber  shops  and  various  small  establishments         20 

Twenty-sixth     Second-hand  stoves i 

and             Cigar  store I 

Thirtieth.         Barber  shops 2 

Expressman j 

Second-hand  furniture .  i 

Upholsterer i 

Grocery  store I 

Milk  and  ice  shop I 

Job  printing i 

Restaurant i 

Twenty-second.  Restaurant  and  lodging  house i 

Grocery  stores 2 

Barbers 2 

Upholsterer i 

Expressman i 

Steam  laundry i i 


The  most  important  omissions  here  are  barber  shops,  on 
account  of  the  large  number,  caterers,  because  their  head 
quarters  are  mainly  in  private  houses,  and  many  small 
stores  which  are  easily  overlooked  and  which  quickly  come 
and  disappear.  Some  of  the  businesses  are  large  and  im 
portant  :  Three  or  four  caterers  do  a  business  of  several 
thousand  dollars  per  year ;  the  well-known  Chestnut  street 
florist  does  a  flourishing  and  well  conducted  business  ;15 
the  undertaker  in  the  Eighth  Ward  and  the  real  estate 
dealer  in  the  Twenty-seventh  are  unusually  successful  in 
their  lines.  The  crockery  store  in  the  Fourth  Ward  is 
neat  and  tasty.  The  three  largest  enterprises  are  the  pro 
vision  and  wholesale  meat  businesses  in  the  Fifteenth  Ward, 
and  the  carpet  cleaning  works.  It  is  reported  that  the 
business  of  each  of  these  approaches  $10,000  a  year. 


15  Here  was  a  case  where  some  persons  sought  to  drive  an  enterprising 
and  talented  Negro  out  of  business  simply  because  he  was  colored.  A 
Chestnut  street  property  owner  made  a  special  effort  to  give  him  a  start 
and  now  he  conducts  a  business  of  which  no  merchant  need  be  ashamed. 


126  The  Occupations  of  Negroes.        [Chap.  IX. 

There  are  five  weekly  newspapers  and  a  quarterly  maga 
zine  published  in  the  city  by  Negroes.  Two  of  the  papers 
are  denominational  organs  for  churches  ;  another  paper  is 
the  official  organ  of  the  Odd  Fellows  ;  the  fourth  and  fifth 
are  local  news  sheets.  The  quarterly  is  published  by  the 
A.  M.  E.  Church.  These  papers  are  fairly  successful,  and 
are  considerably  read  and  reflect  the  general  public  opinion 
pretty  well.  Most  of  them  have  been  very  weak  editorially, 
though  there  are  some  signs  of  improvement,  especially  in 
the  case  of  the  quarterly.  The  publishing  house  does  a 
business  of  $15,000  a  year. 

The  Trades, — The  practical  exclusion  of  the  Negro 
from  the  trades  and  industries  of  a  great  city  like  Phila 
delphia  is  a  situation  by  no  means  easy  to  explain.  It  is 
often  said  simply:  the  foreigners  and  trades  unions  have 
crowded  Negroes  out  on  account  of  race  prejudice  and  left 
employers  and  philanthropists  helpless  in  the  matter.  This 
is  not  strictly  true.  What  the  trades  unions  and  white 
workmen  have  done  is  to  seize  an  economic  advantage 
plainly  offered  them.  This  opportunity  arose  from  three 
causes :  Here  was  a  mass  of  black  workmen  of  whom 
very  few  were  by  previous  training  fitted  to  become  the 
mechanics  and  artisans  of  a  new  industrial  development  ; 
here,  too,  were  an  increasing  mass  of  foreigners  and  native 
Americans  who  were  unusually  well  fitted  to  take  part  in 
the  new  industries ;  finally,  most  people  were  willing  and 
many  eager  that  Negroes  should  be  kept  as  menial  servants 
rather  than  develop  into  industrial  factors.  This  was 
the  situation,  and  here  was  the  opportunity  for  the  white 
workmen ;  they  were  by  previous  training  better  workmen 
on  the  average  than  Negroes;  they  were  stronger  numer 
ically  and  the  result  was  that  every  new  industrial  enter 
prise  started  in  the  city  took  white  workmen.  Soon  the 
white  workmen  were  strong  enough  to  go  a  step  further 
than  this  and  practically  prohibit  Negroes  from  entering 
trades  under  any  circumstances  ;  this  affected  not  only  new 


Sect.  23.]  Occupations  in  the  City.  127 

enterprises,  but  also  old  trades  like  carpentering,  masonry, 
plastering  and  the  like.  The  supply  of  Negroes  for  such 
trades  could  not  keep  pace  with  the  extraordinary  growth 
of  the  city  and  a  large  number  of  white  workmen  entered 
the  field.  They  immediately  combined  against  Negroes 
primarily  to  raise  wages ;  the  standard  of  living  of  the 
Negroes  lets  them  accept  low  wages,  and,  conversely,  long 
necessity  of  accepting  the  meagre  wages  offered  have  made 
a  low  standard  of  living.  Thus  partially  by  taking 
advantage  of  race  prejudice,  partially  by  greater  economic 
efficiency  and  partially  by  the  endeavor  to  maintain  and 
raise  wages,  white  workmen  have  not  only  monopolized 
the  new  industrial  opportunities  of  an  age  which  has 
transformed  Philadelphia  from  a  colonial  town  to  a  world- 
city,  but  have  also  been  enabled  to  take  from  the  Negro 
workman  the  opportunities  he  already  enjoyed  in  certain 
lines  of  work. 

If  now  a  benevolent  despot  had  seen  the  development, 
he  would  immediately  have  sought  to  remedy  the  real 
weakness  of  the  Negro's  position,  i.  <?.,  his  lack  of  train 
ing;  and  he  would  have  swept  away  any  discrimination 
that  compelled  men  to  support  as  criminals  those  who 
might  support  themselves  as  workmen. 

He  would  have  made  special  effort  to  train  Negro  boys 
for  industrial  life  and  given  them  a  chance  to  compete  on 
equal  terms  with  the  best  white  workmen ;  arguing  that 
in  the  long  run  this  would  be  best  for  all  concerned,  since 
by  raising  the  skill  and  standard  of  living  of  the  Negroes 
he  would  make  them  effective  workmen  and  competitors  who 
would  maintain  a  decent  level  of  wages.  He  would  have 
sternly  suppressed  organized  or  covert  opposition  to  Negro 
workmen. 

There  was,  however,  no  benevolent  despot,  no  philan 
thropist,  no  far-seeing  captain  of  industry  to  prevent  the 
Negro  from  losing  even  the  skill  he  had  learned  or  to  inspire 
him  by  opportunities  to  learn  more.  As  the  older  Negroes 


128  The  Occupations  of  Negroes.        [Chap.  IX. 

with  trades  dropped  off,  there  was  little  to  induce  younger 
men  to  succeed  them.  On  the  contrary  special  effort  was 
made  not  to  train  Negroes  for  industry  or  to  allow  them  to 
enter  on  such  a  career.  Consequently  they  gradually  slipped 
out  of  industrial  life  until  in  1890  when  the  Negroes  formed 
4  per  cent  of  the  population,  only  i.i  per  cent  of  134,709 
men  in  the  principal  trades  of  the  city  were  Negroes ;  of 
46,200  women  in  these  trades  1.3  per  cent  were  Negroes  ; 
or  taking  men  and  women  together,  2160  or  1.19  per  cent 
of  all  were  Negroes.  This  does  not,  however,  tell  the 
whole  story,  for  of  this  2160,  the  barbers,  brickmakers, 
and  dressmakers  formed  1434.  In  the  Seventh  Ward  the 
number  in  the  trades  is  much  larger  than  the  proportion 
in  the  city,  but  here  again  they  are  confined  to  a  few 
tmdes — barbers,  dressmakers,  cigarmakers  and  shoemakers. 
How  now  has  this  exclusion  been  maintained?  In 
some  cases  by  the  actual  inclusion  of  the  word  "  white  " 
among  qualifications  for  entrance  into  certain  trade  unions. 
More  often,  however,  by  leaving  the  matter  of  color 
entirely  to  local  bodies,  who  make  no  general  rule,  but 
invariably  fail  to  admit  a  colored  applicant  except  under 
pressing  circumstances.  This  is  the  most  workable  system 
and  is  adopted  by  nearly  all  trade  unions.  In  sections 
where  Negro  labor  in  certain  trades  is  competent  and  con 
siderable,  the  trades  union  welcomes  them,  as  in  Western 
Pennsylvania  among  miners  and  iron-workers,  and  in 
Philadelphia  among  cigarmakers  ;  but  whenever  there  is  a 
trade  where  good  Negro  workmen  are  comparatively 
scarce  each  union  steadfastly  refuses  to  admit  Negroes,  and 
relies  on  color  prejudice  to  keep  up  the  barrier.  Thus  the 
carpenters,  masons,  painters,  iron-workers,  etc.,  have  suc 
ceeded  in  keeping  out  nearly  all  Negro  workmen  by 
simply  declining  to  work  with  non-union  men  and  refusing 
to  let  colored  men  join  the  union.  Sometimes,  in  time 
of  strikes,  the  unions  are  compelled  in  self-defence  not 
only  to  allow  Negroes  to  join  but  to  solicit  them;  this 


Sect.  23.]  Occupations  in  the  City.  129 

happened,  for  instance,  in  the  stone-cutters'  strike  some 
years  ago. 

To  repeat,  then,  the  real  motives  back  of  this  exclusion 
are  plain :  a  large  part  is  simple  race  prejudice,  always 
strong  in  working  classes  and  intensified  by  the  peculiar 
history  of  the  Negro  in  this  country.  Another  part, 
however,  and  possibly  a  more  potent  part,  is  the  natural 
spirit  of  monopoly  and  the  desire  to  keep  up  wages.  So 
long  as  a  cry  against  "  Irish  "  or  "  foreigners  "  was  able  to 
marshal  race  prejudice  in  the  service  of  those  who  desired 
to  keep  those  people  out  of  some  employments,  that  cry 
was  sedulously  used.  So  to-day  the  workmen  plainly  see 
that  a  large  amount  of  competition  can  be  shut  off  by 
taking  advantage  of  public  opinion  and  drawing  the  color 
line.  Moreover,  in  this  there  is  one  thoroughly  justifiable 
consideration  that  plays  a  great  part :  namely,  the  Negroes 
are  used  to  low  wages — can  live  on  them,  and  consequently 
would  fight  less  fiercely  than  most  whites  against  reduc 
tion. 

The  employers  in  this  matter  are  not  altogether  blame 
less.  Their  objects  in  conducting  business  are  not,  of 
course,  wholly  philanthropic,  and  yet,  as  a  class,  they  rep 
resent  the  best  average  intelligence  and  morality  of  the 
community.  A  firm  stand  by  some  of  them  for  common 
human  right  might  save  the  city  something  in  taxes  for 
the  suppression  of  crime  and  vice.  There  came  some  time 
since  to  the  Midvale  Steel  Works  a  manager  whom  many 
dubbed  a  "  crank ;"  he  had  a  theory  that  Negroes  and 
whites  could  work  together  as  mechanics  without  friction 
or  trouble.16  In  spite  of  some  protest  he  put  his  theory  into 
practice,  and  to-day  any  one  can  see  Negro  mechanics 
working  in  the  same  gangs  with  white  mechanics  with 
out  disturbance.  A  few  other  cases  on  a  smaller  scale 


18  The  large  steel  manufactory  known  as  the  *' Midvale  Steel  Works  " 
is  located  at  Nicetown,  near  Germantown,  in  Philadelphia  County.    This 


130  The  Occupations  of  Negroes.        [Chap.  IX. 

have  occurred  throughout  the  city.  In  general,  however, 
the  black  mechanic  who  seeks  work  from  a  mill  owner,  or 
a  contractor,  or  a  capitalist  is  told :  "  I  have  no  feeling  in 
the  matter,  but  my  men  will  not  work  with  you."  Without 
doubt,  in  many  cases,  the  employer  is  really  powerless  ;  in 
many  other  cases  he  is  not  powerless,  but  is  willing  to 
appear  so. 

The  Negroes  of  the  city  who  have  trades  either  give 
them  up  and  hire  out  as  waiters  or  laborers,  or  they  become 
job  workmen  and  floating  hands,  catching  a  bit  of  carpen 
tering  here  or  a  little  brick-work  or  plastering  there  at 
reduced  wages.  Undoubtedly  much  blame  can  rightly  be 
laid  at  the  door  of  Negroes  for  submitting  rather  tamely  to 
this  organized  opposition.  If  they  would  meet  organization 
with  organization  and  excellence  of  work  by  excellence, 


establishment  was  visited  by  the  writer,  and  the  manager  of  the  estab 
lishment  interviewed  as  to  the  success  of  the  experiment  made  by  him 
in  employing  Negroes  as  workmen  along  with  whites. 

About  1 200  men  are  employed  altogether,  and  fully  200  of  these  are 
Negroes.  About  40  per  cent  of  the  whole  number  of  employes  are 
American-born,  but  generally  of  Irish,  English  or  German  parentage. 
The  remaining  43  per  cent  are  foreign-born,  chiefly  English,  Irish  and 
German,  with  a  few  Swedes. 

"  Our  object  in  putting  Negroes  on  the  force,'' said  the  manager, 
"  was  twofold.  First,  we  believed  them  to  be  good  workmen  ;  secondly, 
we  thought  they  could  be  used  to  get  over  one  difficulty  we  had  experi 
enced  at  Midvale,  namely,  the  clannish  spirit  of  the  workmen  and  a 
tendency  to  form  cliques.  In  steel  manufacture  much  of  the  work  is 
done  with  large  tools  run  by  gangs  of  men;  the  work  was  crippled  by 
the  different  foremen  trying  always  to  have  the  men  in  their  gang  all  of 
their  own  nationality.  The  English  foreman  of  a  hammer  gang,  for 
instance,  would  want  only  Englishmen,  and  the  Irish  Catholics  only 
Irishmen.  This  was  not  good  for  the  works,  nor  did  it  promote  friend 
liness  among  the  workmen.  So  we  began  bringing  in  Negroes  and 
placing  them  on  different  gangs,  and  at  the  same  time  we  distributed 
the  other  nationalities.  Now  our  gangs  have,  say,  one  Negro,  one  or  two 
Americans,  an  Englishman,  etc.  The  result  has  been  favorable  both  for 
the  men  and  for  the  works.  Things  run  smoothly,  and  the  output  is 
noticeably  greater. " 

The  manager  was  especially  questioned  about  the  grade  of  work 
done  by  Negroes  and  their  efficiency  as  skilled  workmen.  He  said: 


Sect.  23.]  Occupations  in  the  City.  131 

they  could  do  much  to  win  standing  in  the  industries  of 
the  cities.  This  is  to-day  hard  to  begin,  but  it  is  worth 
the  trying,  and  the  Industrial  Department  of  the  Institute 
for  Colored  Youth,  which  the  Negroes  themselves  helped 
equip,  is  a  step  in  this  direction. 

Clerks,  Semi-professional  and  Responsible  Workers. — 
Under  this  head  has  been  grouped  a  miscellaneous  mass  of 
occupations  :  clerks  in  public  and  private  service,  stewards, 
messengers,  musicians,  agents,  managers  and  foremen, 
actors,  policemen,  etc.,  i.  <?.,  that  class  of  persons  whose 
position  demands  a  degree  of  attainment  in  education, 
reliability,  talent  or  skill.  Here  the  number  of  Negroes 
is  small,  but  they  are  nearly  as  well  represented  as  in 
trades — an  indication  of  a  rather  abnormal  development. 
Of  46,393  men  in  this  class  of  occupations  in  the  city  (i.  e., 
policemen,  watchmen,  agents,  commercial  travelers,  bankers 


"They  do  all  the  grades  of  work  done  by  the  white  workmen.  Some  of 
this  work  is  of  such  a  nature  that  it  had  been  supposed  that  only  very 
intelligent  English  and  American  workmen  could  be  trusted  with  it.  We 
have  100  colored  men  doing  that  skilled  work  now,  and  they  do  it  as  well 
as  any  of  the  others." 

As  to  wages,  the  manager  said  no  discrimination  was  made  between 
Negroes  and  whites.  They  start  as  laborers  at  $1.20  a  day  and  "  we  try 
to  treat  them  as  individuals,  not  as  a  herd;  they  know  that  good  work 
gives  them  a  chance  for  better  work  and  better  pay.  Thus  their  ambition 
is  aroused;  yesterday,  for  instance,  four  Negroes  saved  a  furnace  worth 
$30,000.  The  furnace  was  full  of  molten  steel,  which  had  become 
clogged,  so  that  it  could  not  be  gotten  out  in  the  usual  way.  A  number 
of  powerful  men  were  required  to  open  the  side  of  the  furnace.  Four 
colored  men  volunteered  and  saved  the  steel." 

With  regard  to  the  relations  between  white  and  black  workmen  the 
manager  said:  f  *  We  have  had  no  trouble  at  all.  The  unions  generally 
hold  potential  strikes  over  their  employers'  heads  to  keep  the  Negro  out 
of  employment.  There  has,  however,  been  no  strike  in  this  establish 
ment  for  seventeen  years,  and  Negroes  have  been  employed  for  the  last 
seven  years." 

Finally  the  manager  declared  that  according  to  his  belief  the  Negro 
workman  does  not  have  half  a. chance  to  show  his  ability.  "He  does 
good  work  and  betters  his  condition  when  he  has  any  inducement  to  do 
so  »>  ISABEL  BATON. 


133 


The  Occupations  of  Negroes,        [Chap.  IX. 


and  brokers,  bookkeepers,  clerks  and  salesmen,  and  bar 
keepers)  327,  or  seven-tenths  of  i  per  cent  were  Negroes ; 
if  we  add  to  this  stewards,  messengers,  musicians,  and 
clerks  in  government  service,  they  form  about  i  per  cent  of 
those  in  the  city.  Nearly  all  the  clerks  and  salesmen  are  to 
be  found  in  Negro  stores,  although  there  are  a  few  excep 
tions. 

CLERKS,  SEMI-PROFESSIONAL  AND  RESPONSIBLE  WORKERS  IN 
PHILADELPHIA,  1890. 


Occupation. 

Total. 

Negroes. 

4,113 

62 

1,683 

32 

5,049 

33 

2,072 

6 

23,057 

130 

Salesmen   

10,419 

38 

Total  

46,393 

326 

There  are  about  sixty  colored  policemen  on  the  force  at 
present,  and  the  general  impression  seems  to  be  that  they 
make  good  average  officers.  They  were  first  appointed  to 
the  police  force  by  Mayor  King  in  1884.  At  first  there 
was  violent  opposition,  which  would  have  been  listened  to 
had  it  not  been  for  political  complications.  The  Negro 
policemen  are  put  on  duty  mostly  in  or  near  the  chief 
Negro  settlements  and  no  one  of  them  has  yet  been  pro 
moted  from  the  ranks.  The  number  of  Negroes  in 
government  service  is  as  follows  : 

Municipal  departments n 

Custom  House i 

Post-office 17 

Navy  yard  , i 

Beside  these  there  are  a  number  of  messengers  and 
ordinary  laborers.  In  many  cases  these  clerks  have  made 
very  excellent  records,  as  in  the  case  of  the  discount  clerk 
in  the  tax  office,  who  has  held  his  position  for  many  years, 
and  is  perhaps  the  most  efficient  clerk  in  the  office ;  or 


Sect.  23.]  Occupations  in  the  City.  133 

again  the  Negro  postmaster  and  employes  in  the  post- 
office  at  Wanamaker's  store  who  have  been  unusually 
successful  in  administrating  the  second  largest  sub-station 
in  the  city.  In  a  few  cases  certain  Negroes  have  received 
office  through  political  influence  and  have  been  plainly 
unfitted  for  their  work. 

There  are  a  few  clerks  in  responsible  positions — one 
employed  by  the  Pennsylvania  railway  company,  another 
in  a  bank.  Such  cases,  however,  are  rare. 

Laborers. — The  great  mass  of  the  men  and  a  large  per 
centage  of  the  women  are  manual  laborers — i.  <?.,  teamsters, 
janitors,  stevedores,  hod-carriers,  hostlers,  elevator-men, 
sailors,  china-packers  and  night-watchmen.  Their  wages 
are  usually : 

Teamsters $i  to  $1.50  a  day. 

Janitors $30  to  $60  a  month. 

Stevedores 2oc.  to  300.  an  hour  (irregular  employment). 

Hod-carriers  ....  $  1.50  to  $2.50  a  day  (employed  according  to  season). 

Hostlers $i 6  to  $30  a  month. 

Elevator-men    .   .  .  $16  to  $25  a  month. 

Besides  these  there  are  the  ordinary  porters,  errand 
boys,  newsboys  and  day-laborers,  whose  earnings  vary 
considerably,  but  usually  are  too  small  to  support  a  family 
without  much  help  from  wife  and  children.  Stevedores, 
hod-carriers  and  day-laborers  are  especially  liable  to 
irregular  employment,  which  makes  life  hard  for  them 
sometimes.  The  mass  of  the  men  are,  save  in  the  lower 
grades,  given  average  wages  and  meet  their  greatest  diffi 
culty  in  securing  work.  The  competition  in  ordinary 
laboring  work  is  severe  in  so  crowded  a  city.  The  women 
day-laborers  are,  on  the  whole,  poorly  paid,  and  meet  fierce 
competition  in  laundry  work  and  cleaning. 

The  most  noticeable  thing  about  the  Negro  laborers  as 
a  whole  is  their  uneven  quality.  There  are  some  first- 
class,  capable  and  willing  workers,  who  have  held  their 
positions  for  years  and  give  perfect  satisfaction.  On  the 


134  The  Occiipations  of  Negroes.        [Chap.  IX. 

other  hand,  there  are  numbers  of  inefficient  and  unintelli 
gent  laborers  on  whom  employers  cannot  rely  and  who 
are  below  average  American  labor  in  ability.  This 
unevenness  arises  from  two  causes :  the  different  training 
of  the  various  groups  of  Negroes  composing  the  city 
population ;  some  are  the  descendants  of  generations  of 
free  Negroes  ;  some  of  trained  house-servants,  long  in  close 
contact  with  their  masters'  families  ;  others  are  the  sons 
of  field-hands,  untouched  and  untrained  by  contact  with 
civilized  institutions  :  all  this  vast  difference  in  preparation 
shows  vast  differences  in  results.  The  second  reason  lies 
in  the  increased  competition  within  the  group,  and  the 
growing  lack  of  incentive  to  good  work,  owing  to  the 
difficulty  of  escaping  from  manual  toil  into  higher  and 
better  paid  callings  ;  the  higher  classes  of  white  labor  are 
continually  being  incorporated  into  the  skilled  trades,  or 
clerical  workers,  or  other  higher  grades  of  labor.  Some 
times  this  happens  with  Negroes  but  not  often.  The  first- 
class  ditcher  can  seldom  become  foreman  of  a  gang ;  the 
hod-carrier  can  seldom  become  a  mason  ;  the  porter 
cannot  have  much  hope  of  being  a  clerk,  or  the  elevator- 
boy  of  becoming  a  salesman.  Consequently  we  find  the 
ranks  of  the  laborers  among  Negroes  filled  to  an  unusual 
extent  with  disappointed  men,  with  men  who  have  lost  the 
incentive  to  excel,  and  have  become  chronic  grumblers 
and  complainers,  spreading  this  spirit  further  than  it  would 
naturally  go.  At  the  same  time  this  shutting  of  the 
natural  outlet  for  ability  means  an  increase  of  competition 
for  ordinary  work. 

Without  doubt  there  is  not  in  Philadelphia  enough  work 
of  the  kind  that  the  mass  of  Negroes  can  and  may  do,  to 
employ  at  fair  wages  the  laborers  who  at  present  desire 
work.  The  result  of  this  must,  of  course,  be  disastrous, 
and  give  rise  to  many  loafers,  criminals,  and  casual  labor 
ers.  The  situation  is  further  complicated  by  the  fact 
that  in  seasons  when  work  is  more  plentiful,  temporary 


Sect.  23.]  Occupations  in  the  City.  135 

immigrations  from  the  South  swell  the  number  of  laborers 
abnormally ;  every  spring  the  tide  of  immigration  sets  in, 
consisting  of  brickmakers,  teamsters,  asphalt-workers, 
common  laborers,  etc.,  who  work  during  the  summer  in 
the  city  and  return  to  the  cheaper  living  of  Virginia  and 
Maryland  for  the  winter.  This  makes  the  competition  in 
summer  close  for  Philadelphians,  and  often  brings  actual 
distress  in  winter.  A  pressing  duty  is  to  see  that  the 
opportunities  for  work  in  the  city  are  not  misrepresented, 
and  to  relieve  congestion  in  some  avenues  by  opening 
others  to  Negro  labor.  Nor  would  this  be  a  boon  simply 
for  Negroes :  the  excessive  competition  of  Negroes  in 
certain  lines  of  work  makes  more  suffering  for  their  white 
competitors  than  if  that  competition  were  less  intense  in 
places  and  spread  over  a  larger  area.  White  hod-carriers 
and  porters  suffer  greatly  from  competition,  while  other 
branches  of  labor  are  artificially  protected — an  economic 
injustice  which  might  be  remedied. 

Another  custom  that  works  much  harm  to  all  classes 
and  colors  of  laborers  is  the  custom  of  working  exclusively 
white  or  exclusively  colored  gangs  of  workmen.  It  is  unjust 
to  the  Negro  because  it  virtually  closes  the  greater  part  of 
the  field  of  labor  against  him,  since  his  numbers  are  small 
compared  with  the  population  of  the  city,  and  it  is  harder 
for  him  to  gather  gangs  than  for  the  whites.  It  is,  how 
ever,  a  fruitful  cause  of  injustice  to  white  laborers  ;  for  the 
contractor  who  gets  a  gang  of  Negroes  to  work,  has  a 
temptation  to  force  down  wages  which  he  seldom  resists  or 
cares  to  resist.  He  knows  that  the  standard  of  living  of 
the  Negroes  is  low,  and  their  chances  for  employment 
limited.  He  therefore  takes  on  a  gang  of  Negroes,  lowers 
wages,  and  then  if  whites  wish  to  regain  their  places,  they 
must  accept  the  lower  wages.  The  white  laborers  then 
blame  the  Negroes  for  bringing  down  wages — a  charge 
with  just  enough  truth  in  it  to  intensify  existing  preju 
dices.  If  laborers  on  ordinary  jobs  were  hired  regardless 


136  The  Occupations  of  Negroes.        [Chap.  IX. 

of  color  and  according  to  efficiency,  no  doubt  both  white 
and  black  labor  would  gain,  and  the  employer  would  not 
in  the  long  run  lose  much. 

Servants. — Probably  over  one-fourth  of  the  domestic 
servants  of  Philadelphia  are  Negroes,  and  conversely 
nearly  one-third  of  the  Negroes  in  the  city  are  servants. 
This  makes  the  Negro  a  central  problem  in  any  careful 
study  of  domestic  service,  and  domestic  service  a  large 
part  of  the  Negro  problems.  The  matter  thus  is  so 
important  that  it  has  been  made  the  subject  of  a  special 
study  appended  to  this  work.  A  few  general  considera 
tions  only  will  be  advanced  here. 

So  long  as  entrance  into  domestic  service  involves  a  loss 
of  all  social  standing  and  consideration,  so  long  will  domes 
tic  service  be  a  social  problem.  The  problem  may  vary  in 
character  with  different  countries  and  times,  but  there  will 
always  be  some  maladjustment  in  social  relations  when  any 
considerable  part  of  a  population  is  required  to  get  its  sup 
port  in  a  manner  which  the  other  part  despises,  or  affects 
to  despise.  In  the  United  States  the  problem  is  compli 
cated  by  the  fact  that  for  years  domestic  service  was  per 
formed  by  slaves,  and  afterward,  up  till  to-day,  largely  by 
black  freedmen — thus  adding  a  despised  race  to  a  despised 
calling.  Even  when  white  servants  increased  in  number 
they  were  composed  of  white  foreigners,  with  but  a  small 
proportion  of  native  Americans.  Thus  by  long  experience 
the  United  States  has  come  to  associate  domestic  service 
with  some  inferiority  in  race  or  training. 

The  effect  of  this  attitude  on  the  character  of  the  service 
rendered,  and  the  relation  of  mistress  and  maid,  has  been 
only  too  evident,  and  has  in  late  years  engaged  the  atten 
tion  of  some  students  and  many  reformers.  These  have 
pointed  out  how  necessary  and  worthy  a  work  the  domestic 
performs,  or  could  perform,  if  properly  trained ;  that  the 
health,  happiness  and  efficiency  of  thousands  of  homes, 
which  are  training  the  future  leaders  of  the  republic,  depend 


Sect.  23.]  Occupations  in  the  City.  137 

largely  on  their  domestic  service.  This  is  true,  and  yet  the 
remedy  for  present  ills  is  not  clear  until  we  recognize  how 
far  removed  the  present  commercial  method  of  hiring  a  ser 
vant  in  market  is  from  that  which  obtained  at  the  time  when 
the  daughters  of  the  family,  or  of  the  neighbor's  family, 
helped  in  the  housework.  In  other  words,  the  industrial 
revolution  of  the  century  has  affected  domestic  service 
along  with  other  sorts  of  labor,  by  separating  employer 
and  employed  into  distinct  classes.  With  the  Negro  the 
effect  of  this  was  not  apparent  so  long  as  slavery  lasted ; 
the  house  servant  remained  an  integral  part  of  the  master's 
family,  with  rights  and  duties.  When  emancipation  broke 
this  relation  there  went  forth  to  hire  a  number  of  trained 
black  servants,  who  were  welcomed  South  and  North ;  they 
liked  their  work,  they  knew  no  other  kind,  they  under 
stood  it,  and  they  made  ideal  servants.  In  Philadelphia 
twenty  or  thirty  years  ago  there  were  plenty  of  this  class 
of  Negro  servants  and  a  few  are  still  left. 

A  generation  has,  however,  greatly  altered  the  face  of 
affairs.  There  were  in  the  city,  in  1890,  42,795  servants, 
and  of  these  10,235  were  Negroes.  Who  are  these 
Negroes?  No  longer  members  of  Virginia  households 
trained  for  domestic  work,  but  principally  young  people 
who  were  using  domestic  service  as  a  stepping-stone  to 
something  else ;  who  worked  as  servants  simply  because 
they  could  get  nothing  else  to  do  ;  who  had  received  no 
training  in  service  because  they  never  expected  to  make  it 
their  life-calling.  They,  in  common  with  their  white  fel 
low  citizens,  despised  domestic  service  as  a  relic  of  slavery, 
and  they  longed  to  get  other  work  as  their  fathers  had 
longed  to  be  free.  In  getting  other  work,  however,  they 
were  not  successful,  partly  on  account  of  lack  of  ability, 
partly  on  account  of  the  strong  race  prejudice  against 
them.  Consequently  to-day  the  ranks  of  Negro  servants, 
and  that  means  largely  the  ranks  of  domestic  service  in 
general  in  Philadelphia^  have  received  all  those  whom  the 


138  The  Occupations  of  Negroes.        [Chap.  IX. 

harsh  competition  of  a  great  city  has  pushed  down,  all 
whom  a  relentless  color  proscription  has  turned  back  from 
other  chosen  vocations  ;  half-trained  teachers  and  poorly 
equipped  students  who  have  not  succeeded  ;  carpenters  and 
masons  who  may  not  work  at  their  trades  ;  girls  with  com 
mon  school  training,  eager  for  the  hard  work  but  respect 
able  standing  of  shop  girls  and  factory  hands,  and  proscribed 
by  their  color — in  fact,  all  those  young  people  who,  by 
natural  evolution  in  the  case  of  the  whites,  would  have 
stepped  a  grade  higher  than  their  fathers  and  mothers  in 
the  social  scale,  have  in  the  case  of  the  post-bellum  gen 
eration  of  Negroes  been  largely  forced  back  into  the  great 
mass  of  the  listless  and  incompetent  to  earn  bread  and 
butter  by  menial  service. 

And  they  resent  it ;  they  are  often  discontented  and 
bitter,  easily  offended  and  without  interest  in  their  work. 
Their  attitude  and  complaint  increases  the  discontent  of 
their  fellows  who  have  little  ability,  and  probably  could 
not  rise  in  the  world  if  they  might  And,  above  all,  both 
the  disappointed  and  the  incompetents  are  alike  ignorant 
of  domestic  service  in  nearly  all  its  branches,  and  in  this 
respect  are  a  great  contrast  to  the  older  set  of  Negro 
servants. 

Under  such  circumstances  the  first  far-sighted  movement 
would  have  been  to  open  such  avenues  of  work  and 
employment  to  young  Negroes  that  only  those  best  fitted 
for  domestic  work  would  enter  service.  Of  course  this  is 
difficult  to  do  even  for  the  whites,  and  yet  it  is  still  the 
boast  of  America  that,  within  certain  limits,  talent  can 
choose  the  best  calling  for  its  exercise.  Not  so  with  Negro 
youth.  On  the  contrary,  the  field  for  exercising  their  talent 
and  ambition  is,  broadly  speaking,  confined  to  the  dining 
roonij  kitchen  and  street.  If  now  competition  had  drained 
off  the  talented  and  aspiring  into  other  avenues,  and  eased 
the  competition  in  this  one  vocation,  then  there  would 
have  been  room  for  a  second  movement,  namely,  for  training 


Sect.  23.]  Occupations  in  the  City.  139 

schools,  which  would  fit  the  mass  of  Negro  and  white 
domestic  servants  for  their  complicated  and  important 
duties.  Such  a  twin  movement — the  diversification  of 
Negro  industry  and  the  serious  training  of  domestic  ser 
vants — would  do  two  things  :  it  would  take  the  ban  from 
the  calling  of  domestic  service  by  ceasing  to  make  "Negro  " 
and  "  servant "  synonymous  terms.  This  would  make  it 
possible  for  both  whites  and  blacks  to  enter  more  freely  into 
service  without  a  fatal  and  disheartening  loss  of  self- 
respect  ;  secondly,  it  would  furnish  trained  servants — a  sad 
necessity  to-day,  as  any  housekeeper  can  testify. 

Such  a  movement  did  not,  however,  take  place,  but,  on 
the  contrary,  another  movement.  English  trained  ser 
vants,  the  more  docile  Swedes  and  better  paid  white  ser 
vants  were  brought  in  to  displace  Negro  servants.  One 
has  but  to  notice  the  coachmen  on  the  driveways,  or  the 
butlers  on  Rittenhouse  Square,  or  the  nursemaids  in  Fair- 
mount  Park,  to  see  how  largely  white  servants  have  dis 
placed  Negroes.  How  has  this  displacement  been  brought 
about?  First,  by  getting  better  trained  and  more  willing 
servants  ;  secondly,  by  paying  servants  higher  wages.  The 
Swedish  and  American  servants,  in  most  cases,  know  more 
of  domestic  service  than  the  post-bellum  generation  of 
Negroes,  and  certainly  as  a  class  they  are  far  more  recon 
ciled  to  their  lot.  In  the  higher  branches  of  domestic  ser 
vice — cooks,  butlers  and  coachmen — the  process  has  been 
to  substitute  a  man  at  $50  to  $75  a  month  for  one  at  $30 
to  $ 40,  and  naturally  again  the  resnlt  has  been  gratifying, 
because  a  better  class  of  men  are  attracted  by  the  wages  ; 
thus  the  waiters  at  the  new  large  hotels  are  not  merely 
white,  but  better  paid,  and  undoubtedly  ought  to  render  bet 
ter  service.  In  these  ways  without  doubt  domestic  service 
has  in  some  respects  improved  in  the  city  by  a  partial  substi 
tution  of  better  trained,  better  paid  and  more  contented  white 
servants  for  poorly  trained,  discontented,  and  in  the  case 
of  waiters,  butlers  and  coachmen,  poorly  paid  Negroes. 


140  The  Occupations  of  Negroes.        [Chap.  IX, 

Moreover,  the  substitution  has  not  met  with  active  opposi 
tion  or  economic  resistance  on  the  part  of  the  Negroes, 
because  fully  one-half  of  those  in  domestic  service  would 
be  only  too  glad  to  get  other  work  of  any  kind. 

What  now  has  been  the  result  of  these  economic  changes  ? 
The  result  has  undoubtedly  been  the  increase  of  crime,  pau 
perism  and  idleness  among  Negroes  :  because  while  they  are 
being  to  some  extent  displaced  as  servants,  no  correspond 
ing  opening  for  employment  in  other  lines  has  been  made. 
How  long  can  such  a  process  continue  ?  How  long  can  a 
community  pursue  such  a  contradictory  economic  policy — 
first  confining  a  large  portion  of  its  population  to  a  pursuit 
which  public  opinion  persists  in  looking  down  upon  ;  then 
displacing  them  even  there  by  better  trained  and  better  paid 
competitors.  Manifestly  such  a  course  is  bound  to  make 
that  portion  of  the  community  a  burden  on  the  public  ;  to 
debauch  its  women,  pauperize  its  men,  and  ruin  its  homes  ; 
it  makes  the  one  central  question  of  the  Seventh  Ward, 
not  imperative  social  betterments,  raising  of  the  standard 
of  home  life,  taking  advantage  of  the  civilizing  institutions 
of  the  great  city — on  the  contrary,  it  makes  it  a  sheer 
question  of  bread  and  butter  and  the  maintenance  of  a 
standard  of  living  above  that  of  the  Virginia  plantation. 

Nor  has  the  whole  group  failed  in  every  case  to  answer 
this  question  :  the  foregoing  statistics  show  how,  slowly  and 
under  many  discouragements,  diversification  of  employ 
ments  is  taking  place  among  the  black  population.  This, 
however,  is  the  brighter  side  and  represents  the  efforts  of 
that  determined  class  among  all  people  that  surmount 
eventually  nearly  all  obstacles.  The  spirit  of  the  age 
however  looks  to-day  not  to  the  best  and  most  energetic, 
but  to  those  on  the  edge,  those  who  will  become  effect 
ive  members  of  society  only  when  properly  encouraged.  The 
great  mass  of  the  Negroes  naturally  belong  to  this  class  and 
when  we  turn  to  the  darker  side  of  the  picture  and  study 
the  disease,  poverty  and  crime  of  the  Negro  population, 


Sect.  24.]  History  of  Occupations.  141 

then  we  realize  that  the  question  of  employment  for 
Negroes  is  the  most  pressing  of  the  day  and  that  the  starting 
point  is  domestic  service  which  still  remains  their  peculiar 
province.  First  then  as  before  said  the  object  of  social 
reform  should  be  so  to  diversify  Negro  employments  as  to 
afford  proper  escape  from  menial  employment  for  the 
talented  few,  and  so  as  to  allow  the  mass  some  choice  in 
their  lifework  :  this  would  be  not  only  for  the  sake  of 
Negro  development,  but  for  the  sake  of  a  great  human 
industry  which  must  continue  to  suffer  as  long  as  the  odium 
of  race  is  added  to  a  disposition  to  look  down  upon  the 
employment  under  any  circumstances  ;  the  next  movement 
ought  to  be  to  train  servants — not  toward  servility  and  toady 
ing,  but  in  problems  of  health  and  hygiene,  in  proper  clean 
ing  and  cooking,  and  in  matters  of  etiquette  and  good  form. 

To  this  must  be  added  such  arousing  of  the  public  con 
science  as  shall  lead  people  to  recognize  more  keenly  than 
now  the  responsibility  of  the  family  toward  its  servants — to 
remember  that  they  are  constituent  members  of  the  family 
group  and  as  such  have  rights  and  privileges  as  well  as 
duties.  To-day  in  Philadelphia  the  tendency  is  the  other 
way.  Thousands  of  servants  no  longer  lodge  where  they 
work  but  are  free  at  night  to  wander  at  will,  to  hire  lodg 
ings  in  suspicious  houses,  to  consort  with  paramours,  and 
thus  to  bring  moral  and  physical  disease  to  their  place  of 
work.  A  reform  is  imperatively  needed,  and  here,  as  in  most 
of  the  Negro  problems,  a  proper  reform  will  benefit  white 
and  black  alike — the  employer  as  well  as  the  employed. 

24.  History  of  the  Occupations  of  Negroes. — There 
early  arose  in  the  colony  of  Pennsylvania  the  custom  of 
hiring  out  slaves,  especially  mechanics  .and  skilled  work 
men.  This  very  soon  roused  the  ire  of  the  free  white 
workmen,  and  in  1708  and  1722  we  find  them  petitioning 
the  legislature  against  the  practice,  and  receiving  some 
encouragement  therefrom.  As  long,  however,  as  an  in 
fluential  class  of  slaveholders  had  a  direct  financial  interest 


142  The  Occupations  of  Negroes.        [Chap.  IX. 

in  black  mechanics  they  saw  to  it  that  neither  law  nor 
prejudice  hindered  Negroes  from  working.  Thus  before 
and  after  the  Revolution  there  were  mechanics  as  well  as 
servants  among  the  Negroes.  The  proportion  of  servants, 
however,  was  naturally  very  large.  We  have  no  figures 
until  1820,  when  of,  the  7582  Negroes  in  the  city,  2585  or  34 
per  cent  were  servants  ;  in  1840,  27  per  cent  were  servants. 
Some  of  these  servants  represented  families,  so  that  the 
proportion  of  those  dependent  on  domestic  service  was 
larger  even  than  the  percentage  indicated.  In  1896  in  the 
Seventh  Ward  the  per  cent  of  servants,  using  the  same 
method  of  computation^was  27.3  per  cent. 

Of  those  not  servants,  the  Negroes  themselves  declared 
in  1832,  that  "  notwithstanding  the  difficulty  of  getting 
places  for  our  sons  as  apprentices  to  learn  mechanical 
trades,  owing  to  the  prejudices  with  which  we  have  to  con 
tend,  there  are  between  four  and  five  hundred  people  of  color 
in  the  city  and  suburbs  who  follow  mechanical  employ 
ments."  In  1838  the  investigator  of  the  Abolition  Society 
found  997  of  the  17,500  Negroes  in  the  county  who  had 
learned  trades,  although  only  a  part  of  these  (perhaps  350) 
actually  worked  at  their  trades  at  that  time.  The  rest,  out 
side  the  servants  and  men  with  trades,  were  manual 
laborers.  Many  of  these  mechanics  were  afterward  driven 
from  the  city  by  the  mobs. 

In  1848  another  study  of  the  Negroes  found  the  distribu 
tion  of  the  Negroes  as  follows : 

Of  3358  men,  twenty-one  years  of  age  and  over : 

Laborers .    .   .  1581 

Waiters,  cooks,  etc 557 

Mechanics 286 

Coachmen,  carters,  etc 276 

Sailors,  etc 240 

Shopkeepers,  traders,  etc 166 

Barbers 156 

Various  occupations 96 

3358 


Sect  24.]  History  of  Occupations.  143 

Of  4249  women,  twenty-one  years  and  over  there  were : 

Washerwomen 1970 

Seamstresses 486 

Day  workers 786 

In  trades 213 

Housewives 290 

Servants  (living  at  home) 156 

Cooks 173 

Rag  pickers 103 

Various  occupations 72 

4249 

Of  both  sexes  five  to  twenty  years  of  age  there  were : 

School  children 1940 

Unaccounted  for 1200 

At  home 484 

Helpless 33 

Working  at  home 274 

Servants 354 

laborers 253 

Sweeps 12 

Porters 18 

Apprentices 230 

4798 

Besides  these  there  were  in  white  families  3716  servants. 

Just  how  accurate  the  statistics  of  1847  were  it  is  now 
difficult  to  say,  probably  there  was  some  exaggeration  from 
the  well-meant  effort  of  the  friends  of  the  Negro  to  show 
the  best  side.  Nevertheless  it  seems  as  though  the  diver 
sity  of  employments  at  this  time  was  considerable,  although 
of  course  under  such  heads  as  "shopkeepers  and  traders  " 
street  stands  more  often  than  stores  were  meant, 

In  1856  the  inquiry  appears  to  have  been  more  exhaus 
tive  and  careful,  and  the  number  of  Negroes  with  trades 
had  increased  to  1637 — including  barbers  and  dressmakers. 
Bven  here,  however,  some  uncertainty  enters,  for  "  less  than 
two-thirds  of  those  who  have  trades  follow  them.  A  few 
of  the  remainder  pursue  other  avocations  from  choice,  but 
the  greater  number  are  compelled  to  abandon  their  trades 


144 


The  Occupations  of  Negroes.        [Chap.  IX. 


on  account   of  the    unrelenting   prejudice   against   their 
color."     The  following  table  gives  these  returns  : 
OCCUPATION  OF  PHILADELPHIA  NEGROES,  1856. 
Mechanical  Trades. 

Dressmakers 588 

Barbers 248 

Shoemakers 112 

Shirt  and  dressmakers    ...   * 70 

Brickmakers 53 

Carpenters 49 

Milliners  and  dressmakers 45 

Tailors , 49 

Tanners  and  curriers 24 

Blacksmiths 22 

Cabinetmakers  .   , 20 

Weavers 16 

Pastry  cooks 10 

Plasterers 14 

Sailmakers 12 

113  other  trades  with  one  to  nine  in  each 305 

1637 

In  the  light  of  such  historical  testimony  it  seems  certain 
that  the  industrial  condition  of  the  Negro  in  the  last  cen 
tury  has  undergone  great  vicissitudes,  although  it  is  difficult 
sometimes  to  trace  them.  A  diagram  something  like  this 
would  possibly  best  represent  the  historical  development 
for  a  century  : 


179Q      1800 


1820       1830       1840       1850       I860 


1870      I860      1690 

Such  a  diagram  must  of  course  be  based  largely  upon 
conjecture,  but  it  represents  as  nearly  as  the  data  allow 
the  proportionate  —  not  the  absolute  —  extent  to  which  the 
Negroes  of  the  city  are  represented  in  certain  pursuits. 


Sect.  24.]  History  of  Occupations.  145 

In  the  half  century  1840  to  1890  the  proportion  of 
Negroes  who  are  domestic  servants  has  not  greatly  changed  ; 
the  mass  of  the  remainder  are  still  laborers ;  their  oppor 
tunities  for  employment  have  been  restricted  by  three 
causes  :  competition,  industrial  change,  color  prejudice. 
The  competition  has  come  in  later  years  from  the  phenom 
enal  growth  of  cities  and  the  consequent  hardening  of 
conditions  of  life  ;  the  Negro  has  especially  felt  this  change 
because  of  all  the  elements  of  our  urban  population  he  is 
least  prepared  by  previous  training  for  rough,  keen  compe 
tition  ;  the  industrial  changes  since  and  just  before  the 
emancipation  of  the  slaves  have  had  a  great  influence  on 
their  development,  to  which  little  notice  has  hitherto  been 
given.  In  the  industrial  history  of  nations  the  change 
from  agriculture  to  manufacturing  and  trade  has  been  a 
long,  delicate  process  :  first  came  house  industries — spin 
ning  and  weaving  and  the  like  ;  then  the  market  with  its 
simple  processes  of  barter  and  sale  ;  then  the  permanent 
stall  or  shop,  and  at  last  the  small  retail  store.  In  our  day 
this  small  retail  store  is  in  process  of  evolution  to  some 
thing  larger  and  more  comprehensive.  When  we  look  at 
this  development  and  see  how  suddenly  the  American  city 
Negro  has  been  snatched  from  agriculture  to  the  centres  of 
trade  and  manufactures,  it  should  not  surprise  us  to  learn 
that  he  has  not  as  yet  succeeded  in  finding  a  permanent  place 
in  that  vast  system  of  industrial  co-operation.  Apart  from 
all  questions  of  race,  his  problem  in  this  respect  is  greater 
than  the  problem  of  the  white  country  boy  or  the  European 
peasant  immigrant,  because  his  previous  industrial  condition 
was  worse  than  theirs  and  less  calculated  to  develop  the 
power  of  self-adjustment,  self-reliance  and  co-operation. 
All  these  considerations  are  further  complicated  by  the  fact 
that  the  industrial  condition  of  the  Negro  cannot  be  con 
sidered  apart  from  the  great  fact  of  race  prejudice — indefi 
nite  and  shadowy  as  that  phrase  may  be.  It  is  certain 
that,  while  industrial  co-operation  among  the  groups  of  a 


146  The   Occupations  of  Negroes.         [Chap.  IX. 

great  city  population  is  very  difficult  under  ordinary  cir 
cumstances,  that  here  it  is  rendered  more  difficult  and  in 
some  respects  almost  impossible  by  the  fact  that  nineteen- 
tweiitieths  of  the  population  have  in  many  cases  refused 
to  co-operate  with  the  other  twentieth,  even  when  the 
co-operation  means  life  to  the  latter  and  great  advantage  to 
the  fortner.  In  other  words,  one  of  the  great  postulates  of 
the  science  of  economics — that  men  will  seek  their 
economic  advantage — is  in  this  case  untrue,  because  in  many 
cases  men  will  not  do  this  if  it  involves  association,  even 
in  a  casual  and  business  way,  with  Negroes.  And  this 
fact  must  be  taken  account  of  in  all  judgments  as  to  the 
Negro's  economic  progress. 


CHAPTER  X. 

THK   HEALTH   OF  NEGROES. 

25.  The  Interpretation  of  Statistics. — The  character 
istic  signs  which  usually  accompany  a  low  civilization  are 
a  high  birth  rate  and  a  high  death  rate  ;  or,  in  other 
words,  early  marriages  and  neglect  of  the  laws  of  physical 
health.  This  fact,  which  has  often  been  illustrated  by  sta 
tistical  research,  has  not  yet  been  fully  apprehended  by 
the  general  public  because  they  have  long  been  used  to 
hearing  more  or  less  true  tales  of  the  remarkable  health 
and  longevity  of  barbarous  peoples.  For  this  reason  the 
recent  statistical  research  which  reveals  the  large  death  rate 
among  American  Negroes  is  open  to  very  general  misappre 
hension.  It  is  a  remarkable  phenomenon  which  throws 
much  light  on  the  Negro  problems  and  suggests  some 
obvious  solutions.  On  the  other  hand,  it  does  not  prove, 
as  most  seem  to  think,  a  vast  recent  change  in  the  con 
dition  of  the  Negro.  Reliable  data  as  to  the  physical 
health  of  the  Negro  in  slavery  are  entirely  wanting  ;  and 
yet,  judging  from  the  horrors  of  the  middle  passage,  the 
decimation  on  the  West  Indian  plantations,  and  the  bad 
sanitary  condition  of  the  Negro  quarters  on  most  Southern 
plantations,  there  must  have  been  an  immense  death  rate 
among  slaves,  notwithstanding  all  reports  as  to  endur 
ance,  physical  strength  and  phenomenal  longevity.  Just 
how  emancipation  has  affected  this  death  rate  is  not  clear ; 
the  rush  to  cities,  where  the  surroundings  are  tmhealthful, 
has  had  a  bad  effect,  although  this  migration  on  a  large 
scale  is  so  recent  that  its  full  effect  is  not  yet  apparent ;  on 
the  other  hand,  the  better  care  of  children  and  improvement 
in  home  life  has  also  had  some  favorable  effect.  On  the 
whole,  then,  we  must  remember  that  reliable  statistics  as 
to  Negro  health  are  but  recent  in  date  and  that  as  yet  no 

(147) 


148  The  Health  of  Negroes.  [Chap.  X. 

important  conclusions  can  be  arrived  at  as  to  historic 
changes  or  tendencies.  One  thing  we  must  of  course 
expect  to  find,  and  that  is  a  much  higher  death  rate  at 
present  among  Negroes  than  among  whites  :  this  is  one 
measure  of  the  difference  in  their  social  advancement.  They 
have  in  the  past  lived  under  vastly  different  conditions  and 
they  still  live  under  different  conditions  :  to  assume  that, 
in  discussing  the  inhabitants  of  Philadelphia,  one  is  dis 
cussing  people  living  under  the  same  conditions  of  life,  is 
to  assume  what  is  not  true.  Broadly  speaking,  the  Negroes 
as  a  class  dwell  in  the  most  unhealthful  parts  of  the  city 
and  in  the  worst  houses  in  those  parts  ;  which  is  of  course 
simply  saying  that  the  part  of  the  population  having  a 
large  degree  of  poverty,  ignorance  and  general  social 
degradation  is  usually  to  be  found  in  the  worst  portions  of 
our  great  cities. 

Therefore,  in  considering  the  health  statistics  of  the 
Negroes,  we  seek  first  to  know  their  absolute  condition, 
rather  than  their  relative  status  ;  we  want  to  know  what 
their  death  rate  is,  how  it  has  varied  and  is  varying  and 
what  its  tendencies  seem  to  be;  with  these  facts  fixed  we 
must  then  ask,  What  is  the  meaning  of  a  death  rate  like 
that  of  the  Negroes  of  Philadelphia  ?  Is  it,  compared  with 
with  other  races,  large,  moderate  or  small ;  and  in  the  case 
of  nations  or  groups  with  similar  death  rates,  What  has 
been  the  tendency  and  outcome  ?  Finally,  we  must  com 
pare  the  death  rate  of  the  Negroes  with  that  of  the  com 
munities  in  which  they  live  and  thus  roughly  measure  the 
social  difference  between  these  neighboring  groups ;  we 
must  endeavor  also  to  eliminate,  so  far  as  possible,  from  the 
problem  disturbing  elements  which  would  make  a  differ 
ence  in  health  among  people  of  the  same  social  advance 
ment.  Only  in  this  way  can  we  intelligently  interpret 
statistics  of  Negro  health. 

Here,  too,  we  have  to  remember  that  the  collection  of 
statistics,  even  in  Philadelphia,  is  by  no  means  perfect. 


Sect.  26.]  The  Statistics  of  the  City. 


149 


The  death  returns  are  to  be  relied  upon,  but  the  returns  of 
births  are  wide  of  the  true  condition  ;  the  statistics  of  causes 
of  death  are  also  faulty. 

26.  The  Statistics  of  the  City. — The  mortality  of 
Negroes  in  Philadelphia,  according  to  the  best  reports,  has 
been  as  follows  :l 


Date. 

Average  Annual 
Deaths  per  1000 
Negroes. 

47.6 

32.5 

31.25* 

1891-1896  

28.02f 

*  Including  still-births ;  excluding  still-births,  29.52. 

f  Including  still-births  and  assuming  the  average  Negro  population,  1891-1896,  at 
the  low  figure  of  41,500.*    For  this  period,  excluding  still-births,  25.41. 

The  average  annual  death   rate,  1884  to  1890,  in   the 
wards  having  over  1000  Negro  inhabitants,  was  as  follows  : 


Ward. 

Negro 
Population. 

Death  Rate  per 
1000,  excluding 
Still-births, 
1884-90 

Fourth,              ....*.       ........ 

2,573 

43-38 

Fifth   .                  

2,335 

48.46 

8,861 

30.54 

Eighth                                

3,011 

29.25 

1,379 

22.38 

1,751 

20.  18 

1,333 

18.64 

l»798 

I5-9I 

1,026 

18.67 

1,375 

18.15 

2,077 

39.86 

1,476 

19.09 

Thirtieth    ....               

1,789 

21.74 

2,003 

35.11 

City     

39,371 

29.52 

1  The  earlier  figures  are  from  Dr.  Emerson's  reports,  in  the  "  Condition/1 
etc.,  of  the  Negro,  1838,  and  from  the  pamphlet,  "  Health  of  Convicts.'* 
All  the  tables,  1884  to  1890,  are  from  Dr.  John  Billings'  report  in  the 
Eleventh  Census.     Later  reports  are  compiled  from  the  City  Health 
Reports,  1890  to  1896. 

2  This  figure  is  conjectural,  as  the  real  Negro  population  is  unknown. 
Estimated  according  to  the  rate  of  increase  from  1880  to  1890,  the  aver 
age  annual  population  would  have  been  42,229 ;  I  think  this  is  too  high, 
as  the  rate  of  increase  has  been  lower  in  this  decade. 


150  The  Health  of  Negroes.  [Chap.  X. 

Separating  the  deaths  by  the  sex  of  the  deceased,  we 
have : 

Total  death  rate  of  Negroes,  1890,  (still -births 

included) 32.42  per  1000. 

For  Negro  males 36.02         " 

For  Negro  females 29.23        " 

Separating  by  age,  we  have  : 

Total  death  rate,  1890  (still-births  included) 

all  ages .    .    32.42  per  1000. 

Under  fifteen 69. 24 

Fifteen  to  twenty 13.61 

Twenty  to  twenty-five 14. 50 

Twenty-five  to  thirty-five 15.21 

Thirty-five  to  forty-five 17.16 

Forty-five  to  fifty-five 29.41 

Fifty-five  to  sixty-five 40.09 

Sixty-five  and  over 116.49 

The  large  infant  mortality  is  shown  by  the  average 
annual  rate  of  171.44  (including  still-births),  for  children 
under  five  years  of  age,  during  the  years  1884  to  1890. 

These  statistics  are  very  instructive.  Compared  with 
modern  nations  the  death  rate  of  Philadelphia  Negroes  is 
high,  but  not  extraordinarily  so :  Hungary  (33.7),  Austria 
(30.6),  and  Italy  (28.6),  had  in  the  years  1871-90  a  larger 
average  than  the  Negroes  in  1891-96,  and  some  of  these 
lands  surpass  the  rate  of  1884-90.  Many  things  com 
bine  to  cause  the  high  Negro  death  rate :  poor  heredity, 
neglect  of  infants,  bad  dwellings  and  poor  food.  On  the 
other  hand  the  age  classification  of  city  Negroes  with  its 
excess  of  females  and  of  young  people  of  twenty  to  thirty- 
five  years  of  age,  must  serve  to  keep  the  death  rate  lower 
than  its  rate  would  be  under  normal  circumstances.  The  in 
fluence  of  bad  sanitary  surroundings  is  strikingly  illustrated 
in  the  enormous  death  rate  of  the  Fifth  Ward — the  worst 
Negro  slum  in  the  city,  and  the  worst  part  of  the  city  in 
respect  to  sanitation.  On  the  other  hand  the  low  death 
rate  of  the  Thirtieth  Ward  illustrates  the  influences  of 


Sect  26.]  The  Statistics  of  the  City,  151 

good  houses  and  clean  streets  in  a  district  where  the  better 
class  of  Negroes  have  recently  migrated. 

The  marked  excess  of  the  male  death  rate  points  to  a 
great  difference  in  the  social  condition  of  the  sexes  in  the 
city,  as  it  far  exceeds  the  ordinary  disparity ;  as,  e.  g.,  in 
Germany  where  the  rates  are,  males  28.6,  females  25.3.* 
The  young  girls  who  come  to  the  city  have  practically 
no  chance  for  work  except  domestic  service.  This 
branch  of  work,  however,  has  the  great  advantage  of  being 
healthful ;  the  servant  has  usually  a  good  dwelling,  good 
food  and  proper  clothing.  The  boy,  on  the  contrary, 
usually  has  to  live  in  a  bad  part  of  the  city,  on  poorly  pre 
pared  or  irregular  food  and  is  more  exposed  to  the  weather. 
Moreover,  his  chances  of  securing  any  work  at  all  are  much 
smaller  than  the  girls'.  Consequently  the  female  death 
rate  is  but  81  per  cent  of  the  male  rate. 

When  we  turn  to  the  statistics  of  death  according  to  age, 
we  immediately  see  that,  as  is  usual  in  such  cases,  the  high 
death  rate  is  caused  by  an  excessive  infant  mortality, which 
ranks  very  high  compared  with  other  groups. 

The  chief  diseases  to  which  Negroes  fall  victims  are  :* 


Disease. 

Death  Rate  per 
ioo,oco,  1890. 

«2  52 

Diseases  of  tlie  nervous  system  

38886 

a^6  6? 

Heart  disease  and  dropsy     

257.  ^Q 

Still-births                .   .           ...           

203  10 

Diarrheal  diseases       ..       .       

IQ-3    TQ 

T7-2    7C 

QQ.O7 

Typhoid  fever      

91.64 

For  the  period,  1891—1896,  the  average  annual  rate  was 
as  follows : 


3  This  and  other  comparisons  are  mostly  taken  from  Mayo-Smith, 
*  Statistics  and  Sociology. " 
*  For  death  rate,  1884-1890,  Cf.  below,  p.  159. 


152 


The  Health  of  Negroes. 


[Chap.  X. 


Disease. 

Death  Rate  per 

100,000,   1891-1896. 

C^nsuttiptinti              ,    ,                  ,             .                           .    . 

426  50 

Diseases  of  the  nervous  system             

7O7  6^ 

Pneumonia   

290.76 

Heart  disease  and  dropsy                      .   .       .    .   •   • 

172  6Q 

Still  and  premature  births               

2TO  12 

Typhoid  fever     

44-9S 

The  strikingly  excessive  rate  here  is  that  of  consump 
tion,  which  is  the  most  fatal  disease  for  Negroes.  Bad  ven 
tilation,  lack  of  outdoor  life  for  women  and  children,  poor 
protection  against  dampness  and  cold  are  undoubtedly  the 
chief  causes  of  this  excessive  death  rate.  To  this  must  be 
added  some  hereditary  predisposition,  the  influence  of 
climate,  and  the  lack  of  nearly  all  measures  to  prevent  the 
spread  of  the  disease. 

We  find  thus  a  group  of  people  with  a  high,  but  not 
unusual, death  rate,  which  rate  has  been  gradually  decreas 
ing,  if  statistics  are  reliable,  for  seventy-five  years.  This 
death  rate  is  due  principally  to  infantile  mortality  and 
consumption,  and  these  are  caused  chiefly  by  conditions  of 
life  and  poor  hereditary  physique. 

How  now  does  this  group  compare  with  the  condition  of 
the  mass  of  the  community  with  which  it  comes  in  daily 
contact?  Comparing  the  death  rates  of  whites  and 
Negroes,  we  have : 


Date. 

Whites.                Negroes. 

1820-1830  . 

4.7  6 

1830-1840 

23  7                 ^2  5 

1884-1890* 

22  69                   31  25 

1891-1896  f  . 

2I.20{                 25.41? 

*  Including  still-births. 
I  Excluding  still-births. 

J  Assuming  white  population,  1891-96,  has  increased  in  the  same  ratio  as  1880-90,  and 
that  it  averaged  1,066,985  in  these  years. 
g  Assuming  that  the  mean  Negro  population  was  41,500. 

This  shows  a  considerable  difference  in  death  rates, 
amounting  to  nearly  10  per  cent  in  1884-1890,  and  to  4 
per  cent  by  the  estimated  rates  of  1891-1896.  If  the 


Sect  26.] 


The  Statistics  of  the  City. 


estimate  of  population  on  which  the  latter  rate  is  based  is 
correct,  then  the  difference  in  death  rate  is  not  larger  than 
would  be  expected  from  different  conditions  of  life.5 

The  absolute  number  of  deaths  (excluding  still-births) 
has  been  as  follows  : 


Year. 

Whites. 

Negroes. 

22  ^84. 

Q8l 

l3g2                                         .           

21  273 

I  O72 

i8cn.   .    

22,621 

I.O^d 

180/1      

21  060 

I  O^O 

iSox         

22,645 

I   151 

1896  

22,903 

1,079 

Comparing  the  death  rate  by  wards  we  have  this  table  : 
POPULATION  AND  DEATH  RATE,  PHILADELPHIA,  1884-90. 


Wards. 

Population,  1890. 

Death  Rate  per  rooo, 
excluding  Still-births. 

White. 

Colored. 

White. 

Colored. 

First  

53,057 
31,016 

I9»°43 
I7S792 
14,6:9 

3,574 
21,177 

I3'94o 
9,284 

20,495 
12,931 
13,821 

794 
522 
861 
2,573 
2,335 
125 
8,861 
3,on 

497 
798 
ii 
338 

22.08 

23-93 
23.91 
29.98 
25.67 
24.30 
24.30 
24.26 
25.40 
19.88 
28.31 
21-57 

33-07 
24.21 
21.71 

43.33 
48.46 

49-77 
30-54 
2925 
2232 

14-51 
500.00 

44.85 

Second                 ... 

Third        ...                ... 

Fourth      .   .                       .    . 

Fifth     

Sixth     

Seventh    .    .    .    ,       ... 

Eighth  

Ninth    .    .    . 

Tenth   

Eleventh  .... 

Twelfth    

6  The  official  figures  of  the  Board  of  Health  give  no  estimate  of  the 
Negro  death-rate  alone.  They  give  the  following  death  rate  for  the  city 
including  both  whites  and  blacks,  and  excluding  still- births: 

v  Total  Number  Death  rate  per  1000 

Year-  of  Deaths.  of  Population. 

1891 23,367  21.85 

1892 24,305  22.25 

1893 23,655  21.20 

1894 22,68o  19-9° 

1895 23,796  20.44 

1896 23,982  20.17 

Average  death  rate  for  the  six  years,  20.97;  by  my  calculation,  the 
rate  for  the  whole  population  would  be  21.63. 


154 


The  Health  of  Negroes. 


[Chap.  X. 


POPULATION  AND  DEATH  RATE,  1884-90—  Continued. 


Wards. 

Population,  1890. 

Death  Rate  per  1000, 
excluding  Still-births. 

White. 

Colored. 

White. 

Colored. 

Thirteenth  

17,362 

19,339 
50,954 
16,973 
19,412 
29,142 

55,249 
43,127 
26,800 
43,5*2 

34,255 
41,600 

35,677 
60,722 
30,712 
45,727 
53,26i 
28,808 

32,944 
29,662 

32,975 
22,628 

539 
1,379 
i,75i 
104 
124 
i 
275 
1,333 
93 
1,798 
1,026 
9^0 
260 

i,3?5 

2,077 
644 
1,476 

1,789 
16 
382 
190 
1,073 

20.67 
21.47 
20.08 
28.04 
28.89 
24.42 

23.73 
20.77 

1945 
17.77 
18.50 

17.95 
24-29 
19.48 

31.91 
15.56 
20.19 
22.12 
21.46 
I4.6l 
13.07 

28.76 
22.38 
20.18 
46.38 

64.95 
90.91 

5^-33 
18.64 
56.78 

15.91 
18.67 

35-H 
33-33 
18.15 
39-86 
15.96 
39.09 

21.74 
57-47 
13.66 
I8.63 

Fourteenth  

Fifteenth 

Sixteenth            .   . 

Seventeenth    

^Eighteenth  

Nineteenth  

Twentieth                          .   . 

Twenty-first    

Twenty-second  .... 

Twenty-third  

Twenty-fourth    .... 

Twenty-fifth    

Twenty-sixth  

Twenty-seventh     

Twenty-eighth  .    . 

Twenty-ninth     
Thirtieth  

Thirty-first      .                  .   . 

Thirtj'-second     

Thirty-third    

Thirty-fourth  

Whole  citv  

i.  006.^00 

^Q.^71 

21.  ^A 

20.  «?2 

*  Death  rate  included  in  that  of  the  Twenty-fourth  ward. 


From  this  table  we  may  make  some  interesting  compari 
sons  :  take  first  the  worst  wards  : 


Ward. 

Whites. 

Negroes.* 

Fourth    

2Q  08 

Al  lS 

Fifth                         .   ,   . 

-cy.yu 
OC  67 

48  46 

Seventh  .          

2A    ^O 

•20  <\A. 

Eighth   .           

2A  26 

2Q  2*? 

*  Total  Negro  population,  16,780. 

In  all  these  wards  there  is  a  large  Negro  population  com 
prising  a  considerable  per  cent  of  new  immigrants ;  and 
these  wards  contain  the  worst  slum  districts  and  most  un 
sanitary  dwellings  of  the  city.  However,  there  are  in 
these  same  wards  peculiar  circumstances  which  decrease 
the  death  rate  of  the  whites  :  First,  in  the  Fourth  and 
Fifth  wards  a  large  number  of  foreign  immigrants  whose 


Sect.  26.] 


The  Statistics  of  the  City. 


155 


death  rate,  on  account  of  the  absence  of  old  people  and 
children,  is  small ;  and  of  Jews  whose  death  rate  is,  on 
account  of  their  fine  family  life,  also  small ;  secondly,  in  the 
Seventh  and  Eighth  wards  there  are,  as  all  Philadelphians 
know,  large  sections  inhabited  by  the  best  people  of  the 
city,  with  a  death  rate  below  the  average. 
Taking  another  set  of  wards,  we  have  : 


Ward, 

Whites. 

Negroes.* 

21  A7 

22  *8 

Fifteenth 

2O  OS 

•*•*>•*><-> 

20.  18 

Twenty-sixth       .               .... 

IQ  A.S 

l8.I5 

Twenty-seventh.  *   

•^I.QT 

^0.86 

Thirtieth       

22.12 

21.74 

*  Total  Negro  population,  8,371. 

Here  we  have  quite  a  different  tale.  These  are  the 
wards  where  the  best  Negro  families  have  been  renting 
and  buying  homes  in  the  last  ten  years,  in  order  to  escape 
from  the  crowded  downtown  wards.  The  Thirtieth  and 
Twenty-sixth  wards  are  the  best  sections  ;  the  statistics  of 
the  Fourteenth  and  Fifteenth  wards  show  the  same  thing 
although  their  validity  is  somewhat  vitiated  by  the  large 
number  of  Negro  servants  there  in  the  prime  of  life. 

A  last  set  of  wards  is  as  follows  : 


Ward. 

Whites. 

Negroes.* 

Twentieth                   .   .                  .... 

2O  77 

18  64. 

Twenty-second 

17  77 

IS  QI 

Twenty-third        .   .       «               

18  50 

18.67 

Twenty-eighth  ..           

J-O^W 

1C.  co 

15.96 

2O  IQ 

IQ.OQ 

*  Total  Negro  population,  6,277. 

In  most  of  these  some  exceptional  circumstances  make 
the  Negro  death  rate  abnormally  low.  Generally  this 
arises  from  the  fact  that  these  are  white  residential  wards 
and  the  Negro  population  is  largely  composed  of  servants. 
These,  as  has  been  before  noted,  have  a  small  death  rate 
because  of  their  ages,  and  then  too,  when  they  are  sick 


156 


The  Health  of  Negroes. 


[Chap.  X. 


they  go  home  to  die  in  the  Seventh  Ward,  or  to  the  hos 
pitals  in  the  Twenty-seventh  and  other  wards. 

These  tables  would  seem  to  adduce  considerable  proof 
that  the  Negro  death  rate  is  largely  a  matter  of  condition 
of  living. 

When  we  look  at  the  comparative  deaths  of  the  races, 
by  sex,  we  see  that  the  forces  operating  among  Negroes  to 
make  a  disparity  between  the  death  rates  of  men  and 
women  are  largely  absent  among  the  whites. 


Sex. 

White. 

Negro. 

Total. 

Male                               .               

23.85 

36.02 

24.30 

Female     

20.79 

29.23 

21.12 

(1890,  including  still-births.) 

The  age  structure  reveals  partially  the  character  of  the 
great  differences  in  death  rate  between  the  races.  (See 
page  157.) 

DEATH  RATE  OF  PHILADELPHIA  BY  AGE  PERIODS,  FOR  1890. 
RATE  PER  1000 


4060  50*0  5070  70-80  80-90  9CHOO 100-HO  IKH20 


(STU-U-BIRTHS  INCLUDED) 
[  NEGROES        £J    'WHITES 


Sect  26.]  7%e  Statistics  of  the  City. 


oo 
I 


o 
<J 


A 


« 
fc 


I 


cd 
W 
PQ 

I 


s 


sis 

o  o:S 


fOVO  UOOO  Is-  M 
^CTi-  00\3  t>.«i- 


tv  rCOO  C*  W  O 


2 


O  O   M 
O  «  uo 


•5  tO1**-  O  w  r«-«  wvo  ONt*»w  q\o 

ONwOCOlO^lOOVOOOVOJC^. 

•s-d-w  w  o^^cjc*  tooo  f  1000  (^ 

r  inT  fT  cT        Ci"  w"  M"  M"        tow"       JH" 


r^'wc 


•tJ 


:^ 


*  "" 


158  The  Health  of  Negroes.  [Chap.  X. 

DEATH  RATE  IN  PHILADELPHIA,  1890,  BY  EIGHT  AGE  PERIODS. 


Color. 

M 

Iff 

| 

I 

s 

to 

i 

45-55. 

! 

|s 

Total  whites  

22  28 

TA  80 

6  17 

8  81 

10  85 

13  60 

18  98 

88  88 

Total  male  whites  

23  85 

37  22 

6  40 

10  12 

II  28 

15  30 

20  85 

•ag  AA 

2O  7O 

•32  SI 

c  go 

764 

TO  4-1 

II  Ql 

27  x*2 

Total  Negroes  

32.42 

69  24 

13  61 

14,  SO 

IS  21 

17  16 

2Q.4.I 

4O  Oo 

85.35 

Total  male  Negroes  

36.02 

15.01 

jg  75 

14  12 

2O  S2 

•j?  67 

4,7  7o 

Total  female  Negroes  .'.... 
Native  whites   

29.23 
22  80 

63.12 

12.66 

6  20 

1046 

8  64 

16.24 
TO  74. 

13.55 
12  SS 

25.48 
17  8^ 

34-57 

2Q  6l 

96.47 

Native  white  males   

24.  4^ 

7O  37 

6  34 

o  6s 

10  OS 

T-I  7-1 

IO  AA 

1A.  O4. 

98  66 

Native  white  females   .... 

21.25 

34.25 

6  07 

7.70 

10.55 

"43 

16.35 

25.82 

82.73 

For  children   under  five,  including  still-births,  we  find 
these  average  annual  death  rates,  1884-1890: 


Race. 

City. 

Seventh  Ward. 

Native  white    

QJ..OO 

Ill  04 

Negro  .                          .   . 

T7T   AA 

188  82 

Total  population  .    .   . 

QA.  *7Q 

T32  fil 

y4-/y 

Ao^'D3 

Nothing  shows  more  plainly  the  poor  home  life  of  the 
Negroes  than  these  figures.  A  comparison  of  the  differ 
ences  in  death  rate  from  various  diseases  will  complete  the 
picture : 

DEATH  RATE  PER  100,000  FROM  SPECIFIED  DISEASES,  1890. 
For  Whole  City. 


Disease. 

Negro. 

White. 

Consumption    

r'12  «;2 

260  /12 

Pneumonia   

acfi  67 

1  80  71 

Diarrheal  diseases  

TQ7    TO 

TCT  AQ 

Diseases  of  the  nervous  system   ...          .    . 

388  86 

7Q2  oi 

Diphtheria  and  croup    

AA    eft 

82  O6 

Diseases  of  the  urinary  system  

I-i^t  7c 

60  8r 

Heart  disease  and  dropsy     ....... 

2^7  ^Q 

TC7  16 

Cancer  and  tumor  ,   . 

•27  TC 

c6  6^ 

Disease  of  the  liver    

12  ^8 

27  ^2 

Malarial  fever  

7.4.* 

5  66 

Typhoid  fever  

/•Jo 
OI  OJ. 

72  82 

Still-births    

203  10 

T2C  fir 

Suicides  

3  .20 

^oo-01 

12  OQ 

Other  accidents  and  injuries    . 

99.07 

78.78 

Sect  26.] 


The  Statistics  of  the  City. 


159 


AVERAGE  ANNUAL  DEATH  RATE  OF  PHILADELPHIA,  1884-1890, 
EACH  100,000  OF  POPULATION. 

For  Specified  Diseases. 


Whites. 

Causes. 

Total. 

Total. 

Native. 

Foreign. 

Negro. 

All  causes         .    .    . 

21O1  41 

226Q  IQ 

2562  11 

I47O  26 

1124  81 

Scarlet  fever    .... 
Typhoid  fever  .... 
Malarial  fever  .... 
Diphtheria  

•^sV-'.V'HO 

26.18 

69-35 
7.21 
5O.48 

26.86 
69.65 
7.19 
51.4.8 

35.84 
73.10 
8.22 
6Q.1O 

2.39 
60.25 

4-37 
2  Q2 

9.82 
62.31 
7.68 
26  46 

Croup        ,   

47.82 

AQ  oi 

6641 

I  66 

18  78 

Diarrheal  diseases  .    . 
Consumption  .... 
Pneumonia  

156.11 
297.87 

164.17 

155-3° 
287.06 
158.77 

196.16 
299.29 
174.70 

43-94 
253-72 
115.  11 

195.40 
557.36 
201.62 

Measles  

10.67 

IO.6? 

14.17 

.60 

10  67 

Whooping-cough   .   . 
Cancer  and  tumor  .    . 
Heart     disease     and 
dropsy  .... 

11-39 
54-73 

146.27 

IO.69 
55.17 

I42.IO 

14.52 
48.15 

17  44 

-27 
74-30 

154  8l 

28.17 
44.38 

246  25 

Childbirth  and  puer 
peral  diseases  .    .    . 
Diseases  of  liver     .    . 
nervous  system 
urinary  organs 
Old  age  

10.  06 

27-58 
318.83 
74.90 
46.08 

9.98 
28.32 
315.86 
73.44 

45*99 

9.6l 
24.70 
373.38 
72.54 
•^7.11 

II.OO 
38.18 
159.07 
75.89 
7O.I2 

H-95 
9.82 
390.07 

IIO.  1  1 

48.23 

Stillbirths           .    .    . 
All  other  causes  .   .   . 
Unknown  

117.68 
656.01 

IO.O2 

115.38 
646.23 

IO.O2 

157.72 
743-50 
10.19 

381.10 

9*54 

172.84 
890.67 
10.24 

The  Negroes  exceed  the  white  death  rate  largely  in  con 
sumption,  pneumonia,  diseases  of  the  urinary  system,  heart 
disease  and  dropsy,  and  in  still-births  ;  they  exceed  moder 
ately  in  diarrheal  diseases,  diseases  of  the  nervous  system, 
malarial  and  typhoid  fevers.  The  white  death  rate  exceeds 
that  of  Negroes  for  diphtheria  and  croup,  cancer  and  tumor, 
diseases  of  the  liver,  and  deaths  from  suicide. 

We  have  side  by  side  and  in  intimate  relationship  in  a 
large  city  two  groups  of  people,  who  as  a  mass  differ  con 
siderably  from  each  other  in  physical  health  ;  the  differ 
ence  is  not  so  great  as  to  preclude  hopes  of  final  adjust 
ment  ;  probably  certain  social  classes  of  the  larger  group 
are  in  no  better  health  than  the  mass  of  the  smaller  group. 
So  too  there  are  without  doubt  classes  in  the  smaller  group 
whose  physicial  condition  is  equal  to,  or  superior  to  the 


160  The  Health  of  Negroes.  [Chap.  X. 

average  of  the  larger  group.  Particularly  with  regard  to 
consumption  it  must  be  remembered  that  Negroes  are  not 
the  first  people  who  have  been  claimed  as  its  peculiar  vic 
tims;  the  Irish  were  once  thought  to  be  doomed  by  that 
disease — but  that  was  when  Irishmen  were  unpopular. 

Nevertheless,  so  long  as  any  considerable  part  of 
the  population  of  an  organized  community  is,  in  its 
mode  of  life  and  physical  efficiency  distinctly  and  no 
ticeably  below  the  average,  the  community  must  suffer. 
The  suffering  part  furnishes  less  than  its  quota  of 
workers,  more  than  its  quota  of  the  helpless  and 
dependent  and  consequently  becomes  to  an  extent  a  burden 
on  the  community.  This  is  the  situation  of  the  Negroes 
of  Philadelphia  to-day :  because  of  their  physical  'health 
they  receive  a  larger  portion  of  charity,  spend  a  larger 
proportion  of  their  earnings  for  physicians  and  medicine, 
throw  on  the  community  a  larger  number  of  helpless 
widows  and  orphans  than  either  they  or  the  city  can  afford. 
Why  is  this  ?  Primarily  it  is  because  the  Negroes  are  as 
a  mass  ignorant  of  the  laws  of  health.  One  has  but  to  visit 
a  Seventh  Ward  church  on  Sunday  night  and  see  an  audi 
ence  of  1500  sit  two  and  threehoursin  the  foul  atmosphere 
of  a  closely  shut  auditorium  to  realize  that  long  formed 
habits  of  life  explain  much  of  Negro  consumption  and 
pneumonia ;  again  the  Negroes  live  in  unsanitary  dwell 
ings,  partly  by  their  own  fault,  partly  on  account  of  the 
difficulty  of  securing  decent  houses  by  reason  of  race 
prejudice.  If  one  goes  through  the  streets  of  the  Seventh 
Ward  and  picks  out  those  streets  and  houses  which,  on 
account  of  their  poor  condition,  lack  of  repair,  absence  of 
conveniences  and  limited  share  of  air  and  light,  contain  the 
worst  dwellings,  one  finds  that  the  great  majority  of  such 
streets  and  houses  are  occupied  by  Negroes.  In  some 
cases  it  is  the  Negroes'  fault  that  the  houses  are  so  bad  ; 
but  in  very  many  cases  landlords  refuse  to  repair  and  refit 
for  Negro  tenants  because  they  know  that  there  are  few 


Sect  26.]  The  Statistics  of  the  City.  161 

dwellings  which  Negroes  can  hire,  and  they  will  not  there 
fore  be  apt  to  leave  a  fair  house  on  account  of  damp  walls 
or  poor  sewer  connections.  Of  modern  conveniences 
Negro  dwellings  have  few.  Of  the  2441  families  of  the 
Seventh  Ward  only  14  per  cent  had  water  closets  and  baths, 
and  many  of  these  were  in  poor  condition.  In  a  city  of 
yards,  20  per  cent  of  the  families  had  no  private  yard 
and  consequently  no  private  outhouses. 

Again,  in  habits  of  personal  cleanliness  and  taking  proper 
food  and  exercise,  the  colored  people  are  woefully  defi 
cient.  The  Southern  field-hand  was  hardly  supposed  to 
wash  himself  regularly,  and  the  house  servants  were  none 
too  clean.  Habits  thus  learned  have  lingered,  and  a  gospel 
of  soap  and  water  needs  now  to  be  preached.  Negroes  are 
commonly  supposed  to  eat  rather  more  than  necessary.  And 
this  perhaps  is  partially  true.  The  trouble  is  more  in  the 
quality  of  the  food  than  its  quantity,  in  the  wasteful  method 
of  its  preparation,  and  in  the  irregularity  in  eating.6  For  in 
stance,  one  family  of  three  living  in  the  depth  of  dirt  and 
poverty  on  a  crime-stricken  street  spent  for  their  daily  food  : 

Cents. 

Milk,  for  child 4 

One  pound  pork  chops 10 

One  loaf  bread 5 

19 

When  we  imagine  this  pork  fried  in  grease  and  eaten 
with  baker's  bread,  taken  late  in  the  afternoon  or  at  bed 
time,  what  can  we  expect  of  such  a  family  ?  Moreover, 
the  tendency  of  the  classes  who  are  just  struggling  out  of 
extreme  poverty  is  to  stint  themselves  for  food  in  order  to 
have  better  looking  homes;  thus  the  rent  in  too  many 
cases  eats  up  physical  nourishment. 

Finally,  the  number  of  Negroes  who  go  with  insufficient 
clothing  is  large.  One  of  the  commonest  causes  of 

6  Cf.  Atwater  &  Woods  Dietary  Studies  with  reference  to  the  Food 
of  the  Negro  in  Alabama?'  (Bulletin  No.  38,  U.  S.  Dept,  of  Agriculture), 
p.  21,  and.  passim. 


i6z  The  Health  of  Negroes.  [Chap.  X. 

consumption  and  respiratory  disease  is  migration  from  the 
warmer  South  to  a  Northern  city  without  change  in  manner 
of  dress.  The  neglect  to  change  clothing  after  becoming 
damp  with  rain  is  a  custom  dating  back  to  slavery  time. 

These  are  a  few  obvious  matters  of  habit  and  manner  of 
life  which  account  for  much  of  the  poor  health  of  Negroes. 
Further  than  this,  when  in  poor  health  the  neglect  to  take 
proper  medical  advice,  or  to  follow  it  when  given,  leads  to 
much  harm.  Often  at  the  hospital  a  case  is  treated  and 
temporary  relief  given,  the  patient  being  directed  to 
return  after  a  stated  time.  More  often  with  Negroes  than 
with  whites,  the  patient  does  not  return  until  he  is  worse 
off  than  at  first.  To  this  must  be  added  a  superstitious 
fear  of  hospitals  prevalent  among  the  lower  classes  of  all 
people,  but  especially  among  Negroes.  This  must  have 
some  foundation  in  the  roughness  or  brusqueness  of  man 
ner  prevalent  in  many  hospitals,  and  the  lack  of  a  tender 
spirit  of  sympathy  with  the  unfortunate  patients.  At  any 
rate,  many  a  Negro  would  almost  rather  die  than  trust 
himself  to  a  hospital. 

We  must  remember  that  all  these  bad  habits  and  sur 
roundings  are  not  simply  matters  of  the  present  generation, 
but  that  many  generations  of  unhealthy  bodies  have  be 
queathed  to  the  present  generation  impaired  vitality  and 
hereditary  tendency  to  disease.  This  at  first  seems  to  be 
contradicted  by  the  reputed  robustness  of  older  generations 
of  blacks,  which  was  certainly  true  to  a  degree.  There 
cannot,  however,  be  much  doubt,  when  former  social  condi 
tions  are  studied,  but  that  hereditary  disease  plays  a  large 
part  in  the  low  vitality  of  Negroes  to-day,  and  the  health 
of  the  past  has  to  some  extent  been  exaggerated.  All  these 
considerations  should  lead  to  concerted  efforts  to  root  out 
disease.  The  city  itself  has  much  to  do  in  this  respect.  For 
so  large  and  progressive  a  city  its  general  system  of  drainage 
is  very  bad;  its  water  is  wretched,  and  in  many  other 
respects  the  city  and  the  whole  State  are  "woefully  and 


Sect.  26.]  The  Statistics  of  the  City.  163 

discreditably  behind  almost  all  the  other  States  in  Christen 
dom."7  The  main  movement  for  reform  must  come  from 
the  Negroes  themselves,  and  should  start  with  a  crusade 
for  fresh  air,  cleanliness,  healthfully  located  homes  and 
proper  food.  All  this  might  not  settle  the  question  of 
Negro  health,  but  it  would  be  a  long  step  toward  it 

The  most  difficult  social  problem  in  the  matter  of  Negro 
health  is  the  peculiar  attitude  of  the  nation  toward  the 
well-being  of  the  race.  There  have,  for  instance,  been 
few  other  cases  in  the  history  of  civilized  peoples  where 
human  suffering  has  been  viewed  with  such  peculiar  in 
difference.  Nearly  the  whole  nation  seemed  delighted 
with  the  discredited  census  of  1870  because  it  was  thought 
to  show  that  the  Negroes  were  dying  off  rapidly,  and  the 
country  would  soon  be  well  rid  of  them.  So,  recently, 
when  attention  has  been  called  to  the  high  death  rate  of 
this  race,  there  is  a  disposition  among  many  to  conclude 
that  the  rate  is  abnormal  and  unprecedented,  and  that, 
since  the  race  is  doomed  to  early  extinction,  there  is  little 
left  to  do  but  to  moralize  on  inferior  species. 

Now  the  fact  is,  as  every  student  of  statistics  knows, 
that  considering  the  present  advancement  of  the  masses  of 
the  Negroes,  the  death  rate  is  not  higher  than  one  would 
expect;  moreover  there  is  not  a  civilized  nation  to-day 
which  has  not  in  the  last  two  centuries  presented  a  death 
rate  which  equaled  or  surpassed  that  of  this  race.  That 
the  Negro  death  rate  at  present  is  anything  that  threatens 
the  extinction  of  the  race  is  either  the  bugbear  of  the  un 
trained,  or  the  wish  of  the  timid. 

What  the  Negro  death  rate  indicates  is  how  far  this  race 
is  behind  the  great  vigorous,  cultivated  race  about  it.  It 
should  then  act  as  a  spur  for  increased  effort  and  sound 
upbuilding,  and  not  as  an  excuse  for  passive  indifference, 
or  increased  discrimination. 


7  Dr.    Dudley    Pemberton    before   tlie  State   Homeopathic   Medical 
Society,— Philadelphia  Ledger^  October  i,  1896. 


CHAPTER  XL 


THE    NEGRO    FAMILY. 

27.  The  Size  of  the  Family. — There  were  in  the 
Seventh  Ward,  in  1896,  7751  members  of  families  (includ 
ing  171  persons  living  alone),  and  1924  single  lodgers.1 
The  average  size  of  the  family,  without  lodgers  and 
boarders,  was  3.18. 

FAMILIES  ACCORDING  TO  SIZE. 


Number  in  Family- 

Number 
of 
Families. 

Per  Cent  of 
Different 
Size 
Families. 

Members 
of 
Families. 

One    .    .                  

iyi 

7.0 

171 

Two               

1,031 

42.2 

2,062 

Three        

47° 

1,410 

pour                                 

•*27 

1     AA 

1,308 

133 

\     44-3 

915 

Six     .    .           

106 

J 

636 

76 

532 

Eight                -    

28 

i 

224 

Nine      .                   

25 

\      5-8 

225 

Ten                       .    .           .    .        -           ... 

13 

J 

130 

2 

22 

Twelve                           

4 

1 

48 

3 

[      0.7 

39 

i 

1 

14 

Fifteen 

i 

J 

15 

Total     

2,441 

ICO 

7,751 

I.Q24. 

Total  population  . 

*7 
9,675 

-i  18 

Average  size  of  family,  including  single 
lodgers     ....       

3.96 

Average  size  of  census  family   

5-08 

With  the  whole  population  of  the  ward  included,  the 
average  size  was  about  four,  and  counting  married  and 

*  Families  who  were  lodging — and  there  were  many — were  counted  as 
families,  not  as  lodgers.  They  were  mostly  young  couples  with  one  or 
no  children.  The  lodgers  were  not  counted  with  the  families  because  of 
their  large  numbers,  and  the  shifting  of  many  of  them  from  month  to 
month. 

(164) 


Sect.  27.]  The  Size  of  the  Family.  165 

single  lodgers  as  part  of  the  renting  family,  the  average 
size  is  about  five.2  In  any  case  the  smallness  of  the 
families  is  remarkable,  and  is  probably  due  to  local 
causes  in  the  ward,  to  the  general  situation  in  the  city 
and  to  development  in  the  race  at  large.  The  Seventh 
Ward  is  a  ward  of  lodgers  and  casual  sojourn ers  ;  newly 
married  couples  settle  down  here  until  they  are  compelled, 
by  the  appearance  of  children,  to  move  into  homes  of  their 
own,  and  these  in  later  years  are  being  chosen  in  the 
Twenty-sixth,  Thirtieth  and  Thirty-sixth  wards,  and  up 
town.  Some  couples  leave  their  families  in  the  South 
with  grandmothers  and  live  in  lodgings  here,  returning  to 
Virginia  or  Maryland  only  temporarily  in  summer  or  win 
ter  ;  a  good  many  men  come  here  from  elsewhere,  live  as 
lodgers  and  support  families  in  the  country ;  then,  too, 
childless  couples  often  work  out,  the  woman  at  service  and 
the  man  lodging  in  this  ward ;  the  woman  joins  her 
husband  once  or  twice  a  week,  but  does  not  lodge  regularly 
there,  and  so  is  not  a  resident  of  the  ward  ;  such  are  the 
local  conditions  that  affect  greatly  the  size  of  families. 3 

The  size  of  families  in  cities  is  nearly  always  smaller 
than  elsewhere,  and  the  Negro  family  follows  this  rule  ; 
late  marriages  among  them  undoubtedly  act  as  a  check  to 
population;  moreover,  the  economic  stress  is  so  great 
that  only  the  small  family  can  survive ;  the  large  fami 
lies  are  either  kept  from  coming  to  the  city  or  move 
away,  or,  as  is  most  common,  send  the  breadwinners  to  the 
city  while  they  stay  in  the  country.  It  is  of  course  but 

2  This  figure  is  obtained  by  dividing  the  total  population  of  the  ward 
by  the  number  of  homes  directly  rented,  viz.,  1675.  There  is  an  error 
here  arising  from  the  fact  that  some  sub-renting  families  are  really 
lodgers  and  should  be  coiinted  with  the  census  family,  while  others  are 
partially  separate  families  and  some  wholly  separate.  This  error  can 
not  be  eliminated. 

8  The  excessive  infant  mortality  also  has  its  influence  on  the  average 
size  of  families.  Cf.  Chapter  X.  Whether  infanticide  or  feticide  is  preva 
lent  to  any  extent  there  are  no  means  of  knowing.  Once  in  a  while  such 
a  case  finds  its  way  to  the  courts. 


i66 


The  Negro  Family. 


[Chap.  XL 


conjecture  to  say  how  far  these  causes  are  working  among 
the  general  Negro  population  of  the  country ;  but  consid 
ering  that  the  whole  race  has  to-day  begun  its  great  battle 
for  economic  survival,  and  that  few  of  the  better  class, 
male  or  female,  can  expect  to  get  married  early  in  life,  it 
is  fair  to  expect  that  for  several  decades  to  come  the  aver 
age  size  of  the  Negro  family  will  decrease  until  economic 
well-being  can  keep  pace  with  the  demands  of  a  rising 
standard  of  living  ;  and  that  then  we  shall  have  another 
era  of  good-sized  though  not  very  large  Negro  families.4 

As  has  before  been  intimated,  the  difficulty  of  earning 
income  enough  to  afford  to  marry,  has  had  its  ill  effects  on 
the  sexual  morality  of  city  Negroes,  especially,  too,  since 
their  hereditary  training  in  this  respect  has  been  lax.  It 
is,  therefore,  fair  to  conclude  that  a  number  of  the  fami 
lies  of  two  are  simply  more  or  less  permanent  cohabita 
tions  ;  and  that  a  large  number  of  families  are  centres  of 
irregular  sexual  intercourse.  Observation  in  the  ward 
bears  out  this  conclusion,  and  shows  that  fifty-eight  of  the 
families  of  two  were  certainly  unmarried  persons. 

The  result  of  all  these  causes  is  shown  in  the  following 
table,  although  the  comparison  is  not  strictly  allowable; 
the  real  family  of  the  Negroes  is  compared  with  the  census 
family  of  other  groups,  and  this  exaggerates  the  proportion 
of  the  smaller  families  among  the  Negroes  : 


Number  in  Family. 

Negroes 
Seventh 
Ward. 

Whole 
Popula 
tion  of 
City. 

Brookl'n, 
N.  Y. 

United 
States. 

One                      ....           

% 

% 

T  nr 

% 

2    TV 

7\ 

3n1 

Two                                                     *   . 

7.O 

1.91 

•71 

•°3 

OT  wo  to  six    .   .                          .... 

42.2 

O£   c 

*    *£ 

fjQ  ~PJ 

.    .    . 

Seven  to  ten           

74.O7 

7^-37 

T7    C*2 

73-33 

s)r\  r\fj 

Eleven  and  over     .   . 

5-° 

*7-53 

^0.97 

0.7 

2-33 

J*39 

2.O7 

4  During  the  last  ten  years  I  have  been  bidden  to  a  dozen  or  more  wed 
dings  among  the  better  class  of  Negroes.  In  no  case  was  the  bridegroom 
under  30,  or  the  bride  under  20.  In  most  cases  the  man  was  about  35, 
and  the  woman  25  or  more. 


Sect.  27.]  The  Size  of  the  Family.  167 

Further  comparison  with  France  may  be  made : 5 


Number  in  Family. 

Negroes 
Seventh 
Ward. 

France. 

One   

*7  O 

14.  o 

Two  to  three  ... 

61  «v 

AI  3 

Four  to  five    

2O  Q 

2Q  8 

Six  or  more        

•*««2 

10  6 

•TA    «J 

•••^•O 

Making  allowance  for  the  errors  of  this  comparison,  it 
nevertheless  seems  true  that  the  conditions  of  family  life 
in  the  ward  are  abnormal  and  characterized  by  an  unusu 
ally  large  number  of  families  of  two  persons. 

There  are  no  statistics  for  the  Negro  families  of  the 
whole  city  such  as  would  serve  to  eliminate  the  local 
peculiarities  of  the  Seventh  Ward.  General  observation 
would  indicate  in  the  Fifth  and  Eighth  wards  similar  con 
ditions  to  the  Seventh.  In  most  of  the  other  wards  condi 
tions  are  different,  and  in  all  probability  vary  widely  from 
these  crowded  central  wards.  Nevertheless,  throughout  all 
of  them  large  families  are  not  the  rule,  the  number  of 
bachelors  and  lodgers  is  considerable,  and  there  is  some 
cohabitation,  although  this  is,  in  the  city  at  large,  much 
less  prevalent  than  in  the  Seventh  Ward.  It  would  seem, 
therefore,  that  the  indications  of  our  study  of  conjugal 

5  The  figures  relative  to  other  groups  of  city  Negroes  as  collected  by 
the  conference  at  Atlanta  University  are  as  follows: 


(0 

H 

w" 

8 

8 

H 

H 

^    . 

H  • 

H 

g 

3  fc 

H  g 

d  OJ 

O 

D( 

i° 

3* 

g» 

«^ 

tt 

0 

& 

< 

55 

^ 

B 

1-1 

o 

x 

6.79 

2.04 

5.10 

4.69 

4.75 

2. 

20.06 

17.89 

25.51 

17.91 

19.17 

2-6 

79-63 

82.10 

83.68 

78.04 

79.85 

7-10 

13.58 

15.45 

11.22 

17.06 

15.22 

TI  and 
Over. 

0 

.41 

0 

.21 

.18 

These  figures  apply  to  only  1137  families  in  the  above  named  and  other 
cities.     Cf.  "  U.  S.  Bulletin  of  Labor,1*  May,  1897. 


168  The  Negro  Family.  [Chap.  XL 

condition  were  here  emphasized,  and  that  the  Negro  urban 
home  has  commenced  a  revolution  which  will  either  purify 
and  raise  it  or  more  thoroughly  debauch  it  than  now ;  and 
that  the  determining  factor  is  economic  opportunity.  The 
full  picture  of  this  change  demands  statistics  of  births  and 
marriages  from  year  to  year.  These  unfortunately  are  not 
so  registered  as  to  be  even  partially  reliable.  Both  the 
birth  and  marriage  rate,  however,  are  in  all  probability 
steadily  decreasing.6  The  death  rate  also  comes  in  here 
as  a  factor,  not  only  by  reason  of  the  great  infant  mortality 
but  also  on  account  of  the  excessive  death  rate  of  the  men. 
In  all  this  one  catches  a  faint  glimpse  of  the  intricacy  and 
far-reaching  influence  of  the  Negro  problems. 

28.  Incomes. — The  economic  problem  of  the  Negroes 
of  the  city  has  been  repeatedly  referred  to.  We  now  come 
directly  to  the  question,  What  do  Negroes  earn?  In  a 
year  about  what  is  the  income  of  an  average  family  ? 
Such  a  question  is  difficult  to  answer  with  anything  like 
accuracy.  Only  returns  based  on  actual  written  accounts 
would  furnish  thoroughly  reliable  statistics ;  such  accounts 
cannot  be  had  in  this  case.  The  few  that  keep  accounts 
would  in  many  cases  naturally  be  unwilling  to  produce 
them.  On  the  other  hand,  the  great  mass  of  people  in  the 

6  The  birth  rate  for  the  city  is  given  in  official  returns  as  follows: 

1894.  Total  for  city :  males,  16,185;  females,  14,552.      Negroes:  males, 
536;  females,  476. 

1895.  Total  for  city:  males,  15,618;  females,  14,220.      Negroes:  males, 
568;  females,  524. 

1896.  Total  for  city:  males,  15,534;  females,  14,219.     Negroes:  males, 
572;  females  514. 

Average  per  year  for  whites,  29,013. 

Average  per  year  for  Negroes,  1,063. 

White  birth  rate,  27.2  per  thousand. 

Negro  birth  rate,  25. 1  per  thousand. 

Assuming  white  population  as  1,066,985. 

Assuming  Negro  population  as  41,500. 

The  Department  of  Health  declares  these  returns  considerably  below 
the  truth,  and  the  omissions  among  Negroes  are  of  course  large.  Never 
theless,  the  Negro  birth  rate  in  Philadelphia  is  probably  not  high. 


Sect.  28.]  Incomes.  169 

lower  walks  of  life  scarcely  know  how  much  they  earn  in 
a  year.  The  tables  here  presented,  therefore,  must  be 
regarded  simply  as  careful  estimates.  These  estimates  are 
based  on  three  or  more  of  the  following  items :  (i)  The 
statement  of  the  family  as  to  their  earnings.  Some  of  the 
better  class  gave  a  general  estimate  of  their  average  yearly 
income ;  most  gave  the  wages  earned  per  week  or  month 
at  their  usual  occupation.  (2)  The  occupations  followed 
by  the  several  members  of  the  family ;  (3)  the  time  lost 
from  work  in  the  last  year  or  the  time  usually  lost ;  (4)  the 
apparent  circumstances  of  the  family  judging  from  the 
appearance  of  the  home  and  inmates,  the  rent  paid,  the 
presence  of  lodgers,  etc. 

In  most  cases  the  first  item  was  given  the  greatest  weight 
in  settling  the  matter,  but  was  modified  by  the  others;  in 
other  cases,  however,  either  this  statement  could  not  be  ob 
tained  or  was  vague,  and  in  a  few  instances  evidently  false. 
In  such  circumstances  the  second  item  was  decisive  :  the 
occupations  followed  by  the  mass  of  Negroes  are  paid 
according  to  a  pretty  well-known  scale  of  prices ;  a  hotel 
waiter's  income  could  be  pretty  accurately  fixed  without 
further  data.  The  third  item  was  important  in  many 
occupations ;  stevedores,  for  instance,  receive  generally 
twenty  cents  per  hour ;  nevertheless,  few  if  any  earn  $600 
a  year,  because  they  lose  much  time  between  ships  and  in 
winter.  Finally,  as  a  general  corrective  to  deception  or 
inadvertence  the  circumstances  of  home  life  as  seen  by  the 
investigator  on  his  visit,  the  rent  paid — an  item  which 
could  be  pretty  accurately  ascertained — the  number  of 
lodgers,  the  occupation  of  the  housewife  and  children — all 
these  items  served  to  confirm  or  throw  doubt  on  the  con 
clusions  indicated  by  the  other  data,  and  were  given  some 
weight  in  the  final  judgment. 

Thus  it  can  easily  be  seen  that  these  returns  may  contain, 
and  probably  do  contain,  considerable  error.  On  the  one 
hand  they  cannot  be  as  accurate  as  returns  based  on  income 


170 


The  Negro  Family. 


[Chap.  XL 


tax  reports,  and  on  the  other  hand  they  are  probably  more 
reliable  than  data  founded  solely  on  the  bare  statements  of 
those  asked.  The  personal  judgment  of  the  investigator 
enters  into  the  determination  of  the  figures  to  a  larger 
extent  than  is  desirable,  and  yet  it  has  been  limited  as 
carefully  as  the  nature  of  the  inquiry  permitted.7 

The  income  according  to  size  of  family  is  indicated  in  the 
next  table.    From  this,  making  the  standard  a  family  of  five, 

INCOMES,  ACCORDING  TO  SIZE  OF  FAMILY  IN  SEVENTH  WARD,  1896. 


Amount  of  Income  per  Year. 

Size  of  Family. 

Total  Num 
ber  of 
Families. 

i. 

2. 

3. 

4. 

5- 

6. 

7- 

8. 

9- 

10. 

ii 
to 

is- 

*      r0 

7 

22 
31 
23 
32 
IO 

9 
4 
i 

7 

i 
i 

3 
i 

2 

15 

18 

69 

105 

95 
108 

121 

95 
79 
H5 
23 
17 
45 

10 

23 

7 
3 
5 

36 
67 

i 

2 

19 

35 
46 

49 
46 

39 
40 

47 

12 

J4 
26 

3 

l 

4 

,; 

;? 

T 

14 
45 
133 
187 

214 

213 
230 
209 
172 
256 
55 
54 
125 

63 
94 

§ 

40 

12 
46 
65 
110 

55 

IOO                             .               «    • 

2 

4 

12 
26 

33 
30 
34 
26 

37 
8 
8 
27 

12 

16 

7 
i 
8 
i 

J 

6 

I 

6 
8 
7 
9 
ii 

22 

14 
26 

4 
7 
II 

9 

13 
3 
3 
3 
4 

1 

2 

of 

T  en             .... 

4 
4 
i 

3 

10 

9 

7 
17 
4 
3 

7 
5 
7 

2 
I 

3 

7 
5 

2 

unk 

2OO                 .... 

2*O    

5 
i 

2 

6 

3 

i 
i 
3 
4 
6 

9 

2 

4 
5 

6 

IO 

i 
no-w 

2 

I 
I 

3 
o 

2 

3 
3 
i 

2 

9 

2 

3 

m  s 

i 

2 

3 
i 
i 

2 
I 

2 

I 
I 

5 

2 

ze  . 

I 

I 
3 
3 
4 

I 
I 

I 

I 
I 
I 
5 

•»oo  

AOQ                    

jlcn    

<oo          

SCO    

600    

6^0             ....... 

7OO    

7  CQ    ,    .    .              

800        ....              ... 

8?O    

IOOO-I2OO      

I2OO—I5OO      .              .... 

1500  and  over     .       ... 
Unknown      .   .   . 

Unknown 

and  making  some  allowance  for  larger  and  smaller  families, 
we  can  conclude  that  19  per  cent  of  the  Negro  families  in 
the  Seventh  Ward  earn  five  dollars  and  less  per  week  on 
the  average ;  48  per  cent  earn  between  $5  and  $10 ;  26  per 

7  There  were  many  families  who  were  undoubtedly  tempted  to  exag 
gerate  their  income  so  as  to  appear  better  off  than  they  were;  others,  on 
the  contrary,  understated  their  resources.  In  most  cases,  however,  the 
testimony  so  far  as  it  went  appeared  to  be  candid  and  honest. 


Sect.  28.] 


Incomes. 


171 


cent,  $io-$i5,  and  8  per  cent  over  $15  per  week.     Tabu 
lating  this  we  have : 


It  is  difficult  to  compare  this  with  other  groups  because 
of  the  varying  meaning  of  the  terms  poor,  well-to-do,  and 
the  like*  Nevertheless,  a  comparison  with  Booth's  diagram 
of  London  will,  if  not  carried  too  far,  be  interesting:8 

POVERTY  IN  LONDON  AND  AMONG  THE  NEGROES  OF  THE  SEVENTH 
WARD  OF  PHII^ADELPHIA. 


8.4%  8.9% 
O  LONDON    VERY  POOR 

•HtOROCS     VERY  POOR 
ZTHYtARD 


5L5%e$.5%        17.8%  8.E54 
POOR  COMFORTABLE     MIDDLE  CLASS-fcABOVE 

POOR  TO  FAIR       COMFORTABUt     GOOD  CIRCUMSTANCES 


*Cf.  Booth's  "  Life  and  Labor  of  the  People/'  II,  21.    In  this  case  I 


The  Negro  Family.  [Chap  XI. 

The  chief  difficulty  of  this  comparison  lies  in  the  dis 
tribution  of  the  population  between  the  "poor"  and  "com 
fortable  ;"  probably  the  former  class  among  the  Negroes  is 
here  somewhat  exaggerated.  At  any  rate,  the  division 
between  these  two  grades  is  in  the  Seventh  Ward  much 
less  stable  than  in  London  since  their  economic  status  is 
less  fixed.  In  good  times  perhaps  50  per  cent  of  the 
Negroes  could  well  be  designated  comfortable,  but  in 
time  of  financial  stress  vast  numbers  of  this  class  fall 
below  the  line  into  the  poor  and  go  to  swell  the  number  of 
paupers,  and  in  many  cases  of  criminals.  Indeed  this 
whole  division  into  incomes  of  different  classes  is,  among 
the  Negroes,  much  less  stable  than  among  the  whites,  just 
as  it  used  to  be  less  stable  among  the  whites  of  fifty  years 
ago  than  it  is  among  those  of  to-day. 

The  whole  division  into  "poor,"  "comfortable"  and 
"  well-to-do  n  depends  primarily  on  the  standard  of  living 
among  a  people.  Let  us,  therefore,  note  something  of  the 
income  and  expenditure  of  certain  families  in  different 
grades.9  The  very  poor  and  semi-criminal  class  are  con 
gregated  in  the  slums  at  Seventh  and  Lombard  Streets, 
Seventeenth  and  Lombard,  and  Eighteenth  and  Naudain, 
together  with  other  small  back  streets  scattered  over  the 
ward.  They  live  in  one- and  two-room  tenements,  scantily 
furnished  and  poorly  lighted  and  heated  ;  they  get  casual 
labor,  and  the  women  do  washing.  The  children  go  to 
school  irregularly  or  loaf  on  the  streets.  This  class  does 
not  frequent  the  large  Negro  churches,  but  part  of  them 
fill  the  small  noisy  missions.  The  vicious  and  criminal 


have  combined  Booth's  two  lower  classes,  **  lowest "  and  "  very  poor."  I 
shall  discuss  the  criminal  and  lowest  class  in  Chapters  XIII  and  XIV. 
The  separation  of  the  "poor"  and  "very  poor"  in  the  Seventh  Ward  is 
somewhat  arbitrary.  I  have  called  all  those  receiving  $  150  and  less  a 
year  "  very  poor." 

9  Only  a  few  reliable  budgets  are  subjoined,  and  they  are  typical.  A 
large  number  might  have  been  gathered,  but  they  would  hardly  have 
added  much  to  these. 


Sect.  28.]  Incomes.  173 

portion  do  not  usually  go  to  church.  Those  of  this  class 
who  are  poor  but  decent  are  next-door  neighbors  usually 
to  pronounced  criminals  and  prostitutes.  The  income  and 
expenditure  of  some  of  these  families  follow. 

Family  No.  i  lives  in  one  of  the  worst  streets  of  the 
ward,  surrounded  by  thieves  and  prostitutes.  There  are 
three  persons  in  the  family:  a  woman  of  thirty-four,  with 
a  son  of  sixteen  and  a  second  husband  of  twenty-six.  Both 
the  husband  and  son  are  out  of  work,  the  former  being  a 
waiter  and  the  latter  a  bootblack.  They  live  in  one  filthy 
room,  twelve  feet  by  fourteen,  scantily  furnished  and 
poorly  ventilated.  The  woman  works  at  service  and 
receives  about  three  dollars  a  week.  They  pay  twelve  dol 
lars  a  month  for  three  rooms,  and  sub-rent  two  of  them  to 
other  families,  which  makes  their  rent  about  three  dollars. 

Their  food  costs  them  about  $1.00  a  week  and  the  fuel 
56  cents  a  week  during  the  winter.  Their  expenditure  for 
other  items  is  varying  and  indefinite  ;  beer,  however, 
comes  in  for  something.  Their  whole  expenditure  is 
probably  $125-$!  50  a  year,  of  which  the  woman  earns  at 
least  $100. 

Family  No.  a  has  a  yearly  budget  as  follows  for  two 
persons  : 

Rent,  @  $4  a  month    ........   .....   ,    .    $48.00 

Food  —  Bread,  pork,  tea,  etc.,  @  $1.440.  week     ...      74.88 
Fuel,  20-47  cents  a  week    .............      16.60 


Other  items  would  bring  this  up  to  about  $150  to  $175. 
Family  No.  3,  consisting  of  one  person,  reports  the  fol 
lowing  budget,  not  including  rent  : 

Food  ........  .  .......  .  ......  $30.00 

Fuel  ......   .   ................    15-00 

Clothing  ....................   .    10.  oo 

Amusements    ...................      1.50 

Sickness,  etc  .....  ..............    10.00 

Other  purposes  ...............   ...    15-  oo 

Total,  per  year   .......   .   .......  $81.50 


174  The  Negro  Family.  [Chap.  XL 

The  rent  of  such  a  family  would  not  exceed  $40,  mak 
ing  the  total  expenditure  about  $121.50. 

Family  No.  4 — four  persons — man  and  wife  and  two 
babies,  living  in  one  room,  spend  as  follows  : 

Rent,  @  $3  a  month $36.00 

Food— Weekly:  milk |b  .28 

pork ,70 

bread ^35 

1.33     69.16 
Fuel,  20-98  cents  a  week 18.00 

{123.16 

The  man  has  work  one  and  one-half  weeks  in  the  month 
as  a  wire  fence  maker,  when  regularly  employed,  which  is 
about  half  the  time.  The  rest  of  the  time  he  takes  care 
of  the  babies  while  his  wife  works  at  service.  The  last  two 
families  seem  respectable,  but  unfortunate.  The  other  two 
are  doubtful. 

The  "  poor  "  are  a  degree  above  these  cases ;  they  are 
composed  of  the  inefficient,  unfortunate  and  improvident, 
and  just  manage  to  get  enough  to  eat,  a  little  to  wear,  and 
shelter.  A  specimen  family  is  composed  of  six  persons — 
man  and  wife,  a  widowed  daughter,  two  grandsons  of 
thirteen  and  eleven,  and  a  nephew  of  twenty-eight  They 
live  in  three  rooms,  with  poor  furniture  and  of  fair  clean 
liness.  The  father  and  nephew  are  laborers,  often  out  of 
work.  The  mother  does  day's  work  and  the  daughter  is  at 
service.  They  spend  for : 

Rent— $8  per  month $  96.00 

Food— $2.16  a  week 112.32 

Fuel— 50-84  cents  a  week  ....-- 31.20 

#239,52 

Clothing,  etc.,  will  bring  this  total  to  $250-^275.  This 
is  an  honest  family,  belonging  to  one  of  the  large  Baptist 
churches. 


Sect.  28.]  Incomes.  175 

Family  No.  5,  a  mother  and  child,  expends  for 

Food $  96.00 

Fuel 30.00 

Clothing 30,00 

Amusements     10.00 

Sickness 15.00 

Other  purposes 25 .  oo 

Total $206.00 

To  this  must  be  added  house-rent,  bringing  the  total  to 
$250  or  $275. 

We  next  come  to  the  great  hard-working  laboring  class 
— the  47  per  cent  of  the  population  which  is,  on  the  whole, 
most  truly  representative  of  the  mass.  They  live  in  houses 
with  three  to  six  rooms,  nearly  always  well  furnished ; 
they  spend  considerable  for  food  and  dress,  and  for  churches 
and  beneficial  societies.  They  are  honest  and  good-natured 
for  the  most  part,  but  are  not  used  to  large  responsibility. 

No.  6,  a  family  of  three  from  this  class — man,  wife  and 
seventeen-year-old  son — earn  and  spend  as  follows : 


INCOME. 

Man — hod-carrier  and  la 
borer,  $i.25-$2.oo  a  day— 
casual — averages  $3 .  oo  a 
week $150.00 

Wife — washerwoman,  Oct. 
to  Mch.,  earns  $5.00  to 
#6.00  a  week,  rest  of  year 
$i.  5o~$2.  oo,  average,  $3. 50, 180.00 

Son — porter  in  office  build 
ing,  $2.50  per  week  and 
board  6  days 125 .00 

$455-00 


This  family  occupies  a  seven-room  house,  but  rents  out 
three  of  the  rooms  to  lodgers.  They  have  a  nicely  fur 
nished  parlor. 


EXPENSE. 

Rent,  $22,00  a  month,  of 
which  $14.  oo  is  repaid  by 
lodgers — net  rent,  $8.00  $96.00 

Food — $3.5O-$4.oo  a  week    190.00 

Fuel  . 35,oo 

$321.00 

Clothing  and  all  other  pur 
poses,  and  savings  .  .  .  134.00 


176 


Negro  Family. 


[Chap.  XI. 


Three  other  families  of  the  same  class  follow : 
No.  7.  Expenditure  for  one   year,  $338  (not  including 
rent).     Number  in  family,  adults  2,  chidren  2. 

Food $110.00 

Fuel 40.00 

Clothing 50.00 

Amusements     35 ,00 

Sickness 40*00 

Other  purposes 63.00 

No.  8,  EXPENDITURE:  FOR  ONE  YEAR,  $520.00. 
Number  in  Family ',  Adults  j,  Children  2. 


Expenditure  for 

Weekly. 

Monthly. 

£ 

§ 

> 

Expenditure  for 

(A 

I 

Monthly. 

j>» 

"C 

en 
V 
r* 

Rent   

£16-00 

$192.00 

Amusements 

Food  

$4  oo 

16.00 

192.00 

Sickness  and  d'th 

IO»OO 

Fuel 

^4  -OO 

All  other  purposes 

OO-OO 

•* 

No.  9.  EXPENDITURE  FOR  ONE  YEAR,  ABOUT  $600.00. 
Number  in  Family,  Adults  2,  Children  7. 


£ 

£ 

^ 

£ 

.c 

Expenditure  for 

0 

1 

Expenditure  for 

1 

c 

1 

Rent    
Food  

$20*00 

£200.00 

240.00 

Clothing  
All  other  purposes 

.... 

5-00 

60.00 
$28*00 

Fuel    

1.50 

0.00 

72  OO 

Three  other  budgets  are  appended,  representing  a  still 
better  class  : 

No.  10. 

Total  income,  $840.00. 

Rent $192.00 

Food 260,00 

Fuel 50,00 

Clothing 25.00 

Amusements 15.  oo 

$542.00 

This  Is  a  small  family — mother  and  daughter — who  are 
evidently  saving  money.     The  daughter  is  a  teacher. 


Sect.  28.]  Incomes.  177 

No.  ii.  Total  expenditure,  exclusive  of  rent,  $683. 


£378.00 
Fuel     ......................     45.00 

Clothing  .....................    100.00 

Amusements  ...................      20-00 

Sickness  .....................      50.00 

Other  purposes    ............    .....      90*00 

There  are  four  adults  and  three  children  in  this  family. 
No.  12.  Total  expenditure,  exclusive  of  rent, 


Food $420.00 

Fuel 60.00 

Clothing 150.00 

Amusements .      20.00 

Sickness 5.00 

Travel,  and  other  purposes 150.00 

This  Is  one  of  the  best  families  in  the  city;  they  keep 
one  servant  There  are  three  adults  and  two  children  in 
the  family. 

The  class  to  which  these  last  families  belong  is  often 
lost  sight  of  in  discussing  the  Negro.  It  is  the  germ  of  a 
great  middle  class,  but  in  general  its  members  are  curiously 
hampered  by  the  fact  that,  being  shut  off  from  the  world 
about  them,  they  are  the  aristocracy  of  their  own  people, 
with  all  the  responsibilities  of  an  aristocracy,  and  yet  they, 
on  the  one  hand,  are  not  prepared  for  this  r61e,  and  their 
own  masses  are  not  used  to  looking  to  them  for  leadership. 
As  a  class  they  feel  strongly  the  centrifugal  forces  of  class 
repulsion  among  their  own  people,  and,  indeed,  are  com 
pelled  to  feel  it  in  sheer  self-defence.  They  do  not  relish 
being  mistaken  for  servants ;  they  shrink  from  the  free  and 
easy  worship  of  most  of  the  Negro  churches,  and  they 
shrink  from  all  such  display  and  publicity  as  will  expose 
them  to  the  veiled  insult  and  depreciation  which  the 
masses  suffer.  Consequently  this  class,  which  ought  to 
lead,  refuses  to  head  any  race  movement  on  the  plea  that 
thus  they  draw  the  very  color  line  against  which  they 
protest.  On  the  other  hand  their  ability  to  stand 


178  The  Negro  Family.  [Chap.  XL 

apart,  refusing  on  the  one  hand  all  responsibility  for  the 
masses  of  the  Negroes  and  on  the  other  hand  seeking  no 
recognition  from  the  outside  world,  which  is  not  willingly 
accorded — their  opportunity  to  take  such  a  stand  is  hin 
dered  by  their  small  economic  resources.  Even  more  than 
the  rest  of  the  race  they  feel  the  difficulty  of  getting  on  in 
the  world  by  reason  of  their  small  opportunities  for  remu 
nerative  and  respectable  work.  On  the  other  hand  their 
position  as  the  richest  of  their  race — though  their  riches 
are  insignificant  compared  with  their  white  neighbors — 
makes  unusual  social  demands  upon  them.  A  white  Phila- 
delphian  with  $1500  a  year  can  call  himself  poor  and  live 
simply.  A  Negro  with  $1500  a  year  ranks  with  the  richest 
of  his  race  and  must  usually  spend  more  in  proportion  than 
his  white  neighbor  in  rent,  dress  and  entertainment 

In  every  class  thus  reviewed  there  comes  to  the  front  a 
central  problem  of  expenditure.  Probably  few  poor 
nations  waste  more  money  by  thoughtless  and  unreason 
able  expenditure  than  the  American  Negro,  and  especially 
those  living  in  large  cities  like  Philadelphia.  First,  they 
waste  much  money  in  poor  food  and  in  unhealthful  methods 
of  cooking.  The  meat  bill  of  the  average  Negro  family 
would  surprise  a  French  or  German  peasant  or  even  an 
Englishman.  The  crowds  that  line  Lombard  street  on 
Sundays  are  dressed  far  beyond  their  means  ;  much  money 
is  wasted  in  extravagantly  furnished  parlors,  dining-rooms, 
guest  chambers  and  other  visible  parts  of  the  homes. 
Thousands  of  dollars  are  annually  wasted  in  excessive 
rents,  in  doubtful  "  societies  "  of  all  kinds  and  descriptions, 
in  amusements  of  various  kinds,  and  in  miscellaneous 
ornaments  and  gewgaws.  All  this  is  a  natural  heritage  of 
a  slave  system,  but  it  is  not  the  less  a  matter  of  serious 
import  to  a  people  in  such  economic  stress  as  Negroes  now 
are.  The  Negro  has  much  to  learn  of  the  Jew  and  Italian, 
as  to  living  within  his  means  and  saving  every  penny  from 
excessive  and  wasteful  expenditures. 


Sect  29.]  Property.  179 

29.  Property. — We  must  next  inquire  what  part  of  these 
incomes  have  been  turned  into  real  property.  Philadelphia 
keeps  no  separate  account  of  her  white  and  Negro  real 
estate  owners  and  it  is  very  difficult  to  get  reliable  data  on 
the  subject.  Even  the  house-to-house  inquiry  could  but 
approximate  the  truth  on  account  of  the  number  of  houses 
owned  by  Negroes  but  rented  out  through  white  real  estate 
agents.  From  the  returns  it  appears  that  123  of  the  2441 
families  in  the  Seventh  Ward  or  5.3  per  cent  own  property 
in  that  ward;  seventy-four  other  families  own  property 
outside  the  ward,  making  in  all  197  or  8  per  cent  of  the 
families  who  are  property  holders.  It  is  possible  that 
omissions  may  raise  this  total  to  10  per  cent.  The  total 
value  of  this  property  is  partly  conjectural  but  a  careful 
estimate  would  place  it  at  about  $1,000,000,  or  4^  per 
cent  of  the  valuation  of  a  ward  where  the  Negroes  form 
42  per  cent  of  the  population. 

Two  estimates  for  the  whole  city  represent  the  holdings 
of  the  well-to-do  Negroes,  that  is,  those  having  $10,000 
and  more  of  property,  as  follows  : 10 

From  $  10,000  to  $  15,000 27 

"          15,000  to     25,000 10 

"          25,000  to     50,000 ii 

"          50,000  to  100,000 .  4 

"        100,000  to  500,000 i 

53 

In  all,  these  persons  represent  an  ownership  of  at  least 
$1,500,000.  The  other  property  holders  can  only  be 
estimated  ;  the  total  ownership  of  property  by  Philadelphia 
Negroes  must  be  at  least  five  millions,  not  including 


10  These  estimates  are  by  lifelong  residents  of  Philadelphia,  who  have 
had  unusual  opportunity  of  knowing  the  men  of  whom  they  speak.  One 
says,  "  I  have  .  .  .  prepared  an  estimate  which  I  herein  enclose.  I 
have  endeavored  to  be  as  conservative  as  possible.  There  are,  doubtless, 
several  omitted  because  they  are  not  known,  or  if  known  are  not  now 
thought  of;  but  I  believe  the  estimate  is  approximately  correct." 


i8o  The  Negro  Family.  [Chap.  XL 

church  property.     Comparing  this  with  estimates  in  the 
past,  we  have  :  n 

1821,  real  estate,  assessed  value,  $r  12,464;  real  value,  $281,162 


1832,  «   «   

1838,  "    "   

1848,  (<    "   

1855,  real  and  personal  estate 


357,000 

322,532 

53r>&>9 

2,685,693 


5,000,000 

In  1849  tke  returns  of  the  investigation  showed  that  7.4 
per  cent  of  the  Negroes  in  the  county  owned  property, 
and  5.5  per  cent  in  the  city  proper,  compared  with  5.3  per 


11  The  figures  for  1821  are  from  assessors5  reports,  quoted  in  the  investi 
gation  of  1838.  The  figures  for  1832  are  from  a  memorial  to  the  legisla 
ture,  in  which  the  Negroes  say  that  by  reference  to  the  receipts  of  tax 
payers  which  were  "actually  produced/'  they  paid  at  least  $2500  in  taxes, 
and  had  also  $100,000  in  church  property.  From  this  the  inquiry  of  1838 
estimates  that  they  owned  $357,000  outside  church  property.  The  same 
study  estimates  the  property  of  Negroes  in  1838  as  follows: 

Real  Estate  (true  value).    Personal  Property. 

City $241,962  $505,322 

Northern  Liberties 26,700  35,539 

Kensington 2,255  3,825 

Spring  Garden 5,935  21,570 

Southwark I5>355  26,848 

Moyamensing 30,325  74,755 

$322,532  $667,859 

Encumbrances 12,906 

$309,626 

The  report  says;  "  This  amount  must,  of  course,  be  received  as  only  an 
approximation  of  the  truth."  Fifteen  church  edifices,  a  cemetery  and 
hall  are  not  included  in  the  above.  l*  Condition,"  etc.,  1838.  pp.  7,  8. 

The  investigation  in  1847-48,  gave  the  following  results: 

Value  Real  Estate,       Encumbrances. 

City $368,842  $78,421 

Spring  Garden ,   %     27,150  11,050 

Northern  liberties 40,675  13,440 

Southwark 3^544  5,9*5 

Moyamensing 51,973  20,216 

West  Philadelphia 11,625  1,400 

9  $130,442 


Sect.  29.] 


Property. 


181 


cent  in  the  Seventh  Ward  to-day.  In  this  comparison, 
however,  we  must  consider  the  enormous  increase  in  the 
value  of  Philadelphia  real  estate. 


This  property  was  distributed  as  follows: 


WHOLE  NtrM- 
BER  HEADS  OF 
FAMILIES. 

OWNERS  OF 
REAL  ESTATE. 

PER  CSNT. 

City     

2562 

141 

5.5 

Spring  Garden     

272 

44 

16.1 

202 

2^ 

II.  •* 

Southwark.        .    ,       » 

28? 

^O 

10.4 

Moyatnensing  

866 

52 

6.0 

West  Philadelphia  

73 

25 

34-4 

4262 

315 

7-4 

The  occupations  of  the  315  freeholders  was  as  follows: 
78  laborers. 
49  traders. 
41  mechanics. 

35  coachmen  and  hackmen. 
28  waiters. 
20  barbers, 
ii  professional  men. 
53  females. 

315 
The  personal  property  was  as  follows: 


< 

Jx* 
0 

SPRING 
GARDEN. 

NORTHERN 
I/IBERTIES. 

! 

K 

I 

MOYAMBNBINO 

WEST 
PHILADELPHIA. 

TOTAL. 

Under  $25. 
$25-^50. 
$5o-$ioo. 
$ioo-$50o. 

J500-$20,000. 

No  Estate. 

570 
772 
404 
650 
156 

6 

66 

% 

19 

62 

102 

63 
83 

5 

102 
2 

259 

160 

134 

291 
5 
15 

16 
9 

42 

I 

Total  perso 
nal  property. 
Average. 

$455,^2^ 
$178.63 

$9>5$2 
147-33 

#34,044 
$108.07 

feo,4Q2 

$105.30 

$90»553 
$106,63 

$12,065 
$151-57 

$632,246 
$147-52 

"Statistical  Inquiry'/ etc.,  p.  15. 


1 82  The  Negro  Family.  [Chap.  XI. 

Taking  the  heads  of  the  123  families  known  to  live  in 
the  Seventh  Ward  and  to  own  real  estate  we  find  that  they 
were  born  as  follows  : 

Philadelphia .  41  —  41  =  33^  per  cent. 

Pennsylvania 7  " 

Maryland 22 

Virginia 21 


South 13 

Delaware  and  New  Jersey    ....      8 
Other  parts  of  United  States  and 

abroad 7 

Unknown 4  - 

123 


-  82  =  66%  per  cent. 


A  comparison  between  1838  and  1848  was  made  by  Needles'  "  Pro 
gress."  etc.,  pp.  8,  9. 
&  1837.  1847.  Increase. 

Real  estate,  less  incumbrances  .  $309,626        $401,362        $9I>736 
House  and  water  rents    ....    161,482          200,697          39.225 

Taxes 3,253  6,308  3,056 

The  Inquiry  of  1856,  pp.  15,  16,  declares  that  the  previous  year  the 
Negroes  owned; 

Real  and  personal  property  (true  value) 12,685,693.00 

Taxes  paid 9,766.42 

House,  water  and  ground  rent 396,782.27 

A  detailed  estimate  for  1897  gives  the  following: 

Value  of  Estate.  Number  of  Estates.  Total. 

$250,000-^500,000 I       ..  —  .,.  $35O,OOO 

100,000      .    . I  ..-—...     100,000 

8o,OOO I  .*.  =  ...        8o,OOO 

75,ooo i  ...  =  ...  75,000 

60,000 I      ..  =  ...  60,000 

40,000 4  ...  =  ...  160,000 

35>ooo 3  ...=...  105,000 

30,000 4  ...  =  ...  120,000 

20,000 10  ...  =  ...  200,000 

15,000 ii  ...  =  ...  165,000 

10,000 16  ...  =  ...  160,000 


52  $1,575,000 

The  total  of  $1,575,000  is  the  estimated  wealth  of  the  well-to-do. 
This  estimate  is  as  reliable  as  can  be  obtained,  and  is  probably  not  far 
from  the  real  facts. 


Sect.  29.] 


Property, 


The  eighty-two  not  born  in  Philadelphia  have  lived  there 
as  follows : 

Over  2  and  under  10  years c 


10  to  14  years 

15  to  19     " 

20  to  24     " 

25  to  29     " 

30  to  34     " 

35  to  39     " 

40  to  44    " 

45  to  49     " 

50  to  54    " 

60  years  and  over 

Unknown 4 


82 


Nineteen  have  lived  less  than  twenty  years  in  the  city 
and  fifty-nine,  twenty  years  or  more. 

The  occupations  of  the  123  property  owners  were  as 
follows : 


Caterers 22 

Waiters 12 

Porters  and  Janitors 10 

Housewives 9 

Laundresses 8 

Mechanics 7 

Coachmen 6 

Clerks  in  public  service  ....  4 

Drivers  and  teamsters     ....  4 

Upholsterers 3 

Employment  agents 3 

Merchants 3 

Stewards 3 

Ministers 3 

Hod-carriers  and  laborers  ...  2 

Policemen  and  watchmen     .   .  2 


Hotel  keepers  and     restaura 
teurs    3 

Cooks .  2 

Undertakers 2 

School-teachers 2 

Barbers 2 

Physicians 2 

Shrouder  of  dead i 

Newspaper  publisher  .....  i 

Real  estate  dealer i 

Sexton i 

No  occupation  . *  3 

Unknown 2 

123 


This  shows  that  the  real  estate  owners  are  either  Phila 
delphia  born  or  old  residents  and  that  the  mass  of  them 
are  caterers  and  house  servants,  with  a  sprinkling  of  those 
representing  the  newer  employments  as  clerks  in  public 
service,  merchants,  and  the  like. 


1 84  The  Negro  Family.  [Chap.  XL 

Of  these  one  hundred  and  twenty-three  families 

62  own  the  houses  they  occupy. 

20  own  the  houses  they  occupy,  and  also  other  real  estate  in 

the  city. 
7  own  the  houses  they  occupy,  own  other  real  estate  in  the 

city,  and  also  own  real  estate  elsewhere. 
5  own  homes  outside  the  city,  and  other  real  estate  else 
where. 

22  own  real  estate  in  the  city. 
7  own  real  estate  in  the  city  and  elsewhere  also. 

In  other  words,  89  own  homes  in  the  city,  and  34  own 
real  estate  somewhere. 

Returns  from  forty  of  these  holders  indicate  a  total  hold 
ing  of  $250,000,  or  if  we  add  in  one  large  estate,  $650,000. 
Other  less  definite  but  fairly  reliable  returns  raise  the  total 
ownership  of  property  in  the  Seventh  Ward  to  $1,000,000 
or  more.  Sixty-three  of  the  seventy-four  owning  property 
outside  the  city  report  $49,010  in  real  estate.12  In  none 
of  these  returns  has  there  been  any  account  of  the  mort 
gage  indebtedness  taken,  nor  is  there  any  means  of  ascer 
taining  this  debt13 

On  the  whole  the  statistics  show  comparatively  few 
Negro  property  holders  in  Philadelphia.  In  a  city  where 
the  percentage  of  home  owners  is  unusually  large,  over  94 
per  cent  of  the  Negroes  appear  from  the  imperfect  returns 
available  to  be  renters.  There  are  several  reasons  for  this  : 
first,  the  Negroes  distrust  all  saving  institutions  since 
the  fatal  collapse  of  the  Preedrnen's  Bank  ;  secondly,  they 
have  difficulty  in  buying  homes  in  decent  neighborhoods ; 
thirdly,  the  rising  price  of  real  estate,  and  the  falling  off  of 
wage  and  industrial  opportunity  for  the  Negro  must  be 
taken  into  account  Finally  a  curious  effect  of  color 

14  There  is  more  property  than  this  owned,  but  only  the  answers  that 
seemed  reliable  and  definite  were  recorded.  Most  of  this  property  is  in 
the  country  districts  of  the  South. 

13  Many  efforts  were  made  to  get  official  data  on  the  matter  of  property, 
but  the  authorities  had  no  way  of  even  approximately  distinguishing  the 
races. 


Sect  29.]  Property.  185 

prejudice,  to  be  discussed  later,  has  had  enormous  influence 
in  concentrating  Negro  population  in  localities  where  it  was 
hard  to  buy  homes.  All  these  are  cogent  reasons,  and  yet 
they  are  not  enough  to  excuse  the  Negroes  from  not  buying 
much  more  property  than  they  have.  Much  of  the  money 
that  should  have  gone  into  homes  has  gone  into  costly 
church  edifices,  dues  to  societies,  dress  and  entertainment. 
If  the  Negroes  had  bought  little  homes  as  persistently  as 
they  have  worked  to  develop  a  church  and  secret  society 
system,  and  had  invested  more  of  their  earnings  in  savings- 
banks  and  less  in  clothes  they  would  be  in  a  far  better 
condition  to  demand  industrial  opportunity  than  they  are 
to-day. 

This  does  not  mean  that  the  Negro  is  lazy  or  a  spend 
thrift  ;  it  simply  means  misdirected  energies  which  cause 
the  Negro  people  yearly  to  waste  thousands  of  dollars  in 
rents  and  live  in  poor  homes  when  they  might  with  proper 
foresight  do  much  better. 

There  are  some  signs  of  awakening  to  this  fact  among 
the  Negroes.  Lately  they  are  just  beginning  to  understand 
and  profit  by  the  Building  and  Loan  Associations.  Forty- 
one  families  in  the  Seventh  Ward,  or  about  2  per  cent, 
belong  now  to  such  associations  and  the  number  is  increas 
ing.  Outside  the  Seventh  Ward  as  large  and  probably  a 
larger  percentage  belong  to  co-operative  home  -buying 
societies.  The  peculiar  phenomenon  among  the  colored 
people,  however,  is  the  wide  development  of  beneficial  and 
secret  orders.  Three  hundred  and  six  families,  or  17  per 
cent  of  the  Negroes  of  the  ward,  are  reported  as  belonging 
to  beneficial  societies  and  probably  25  per  cent  or  more 
actually  belong.  Beside  these  there  are  the  petty  insurance 
societies,  to  which  1021  families  or  42  per  cent  belong. 
In  more  prosperous  times  this  membership  may  reach  50  or 
60  per  cent  or  a  total  of  at  least  4000  men,  women  and 
children.  The  beneficial  and  secret  societies,  being  organ 
izations  of  Negroes,  will  be  spoken  of  later.  The  petty 


i86 


The  Negro  Family. 


[Chap.  XL 


insurance  societies  are  for  the  most  part  conducted  by 
whites.  Some  of  these  are  reliable  enterprises,  and  by 
careful  management  and  honest  dealing  do  something  to 
encourage  the  saving  spirit  among  the  Negroes.  It  is 
doubtful,  however,  if  they  form  the  best  kind  of  incentive, 
and  probably  they  stand  in  the  way  of  the  savings-bank 
and  building  association.  Only  a  few  deserve  this  quali 
fied  approval.  The  large  majority  are  little  better  than 
licensed  gambling  operations  ;  it  is  a  disgrace  that  a  great 
municipality  allows  them  to  prey  upon  the  people  in  the 
manner  they  do.14  They  usually  rest  on  no  sound  business 
principles ;  they  take  any  and  all  risks,  generally  without 
medical  examination  and  depend  on  lapses  in  payments 
and  bold  cheating  to  make  money.  Even  the  best  conducted 
of  these  societies  have  to  depend  on  the  unreturned  contribu 
tions  of  persons  who  cannot  keep  up  their  payments,  to 
make  both  ends  meet. 

There  were  in  1897  thirty-one  insurance  societies  doing 
business  in  the  Seventh  Ward.  The  following  table  gives 
the  weekly  premiums  required  for  sick  and  death  benefits 
in  one  society : 

RATES  AND  DEATH  BENEFITS. 
Weekly  Dties  for  Benefits  Payable  at  Death  only. 


Age. 

$100 

Benefit. 

$200 

Benefit. 

T2-I1*                      .                      

$0.04 

$0.07 

.05 

.09 

.06 

.11 

•°7 

.13 

.08 

.15 

.10 

.18 

jfc-co                                            .     .               .         ........ 

.12 

.2^1 

CQ-C7                                                        ..,......»...-. 

,14 

.26 

M-cr                                                                                

.15 

.28 

CC~c8    ......                                                       

.18 

.^5 

58-60    

.20 

-39 

uFor  an  account  of  a  partial  investigation  of  this  subject  and  some 
attempts  at  reform,  see  "Report  of  Citizens*  Permanent  Relief  Committee, 
etc, ,  1893-4,"  pp.  31,  ff.  Cf.  Also  the  work  of  the  Star  Kitchen  at  Seventh 
and  Lombard  streets,  Philadelphia. 


Sect.  29.] 


Property. 


187 


This  is  at  the  rate  of  $46.80  to  $52  for  a  $1000  life 
policy  at  the  age  of  43,  which  can  be  had  in  regular  com 
panies  for  about  $35.  The  excess  represents  the  expense 
of  collection  and  the  gambler's  risk. 

SICKNESS  AND  ACCIDENT  BENEFITS. 
Weekly  Dues  for  Specified  Sums  per  Week. 


Age  next  Birthday. 

$4.00. 

$5-oo. 

#6.00. 

17.00. 

|8.oo. 

$10.00. 

12—  20            .    . 

IO 

T7 

16 

TO 

22 

oc 

2O—25       

II 

•Ao 

I/J 

T7 

•J-9 

20 

-27 

••^o 
26 

2^—  "2.O  

.12 

1C 

18 

21 

•^O 

2/t 

27 

•so—  -ic                 .    .    , 

TA 

17 

20 

07 

26 

2O 

•1C—  AQ        

1C 

18 

21 

•A5 

2jl 

27 

•*9 

•20 

JO—  A/i   

.17 

.20 

.27, 

26 

2Q 

ow 

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21 

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27 

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77 

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25 

.28 

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43_CQ  

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26 

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72 

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co—  ^7                          .    .    . 

22 

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28 

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7i 

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3.7 

53"~55  

.2^ 

26 

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72 

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.^8 

55-58  

.24 

.27 

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.^A 

.^7 

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58-60  

.28 

•31 

•34 

•37 

.41 

.44 

Children — Age,  2  to  n  years. 

Amount  payable  to  children  after  their  certificates  have  been  issued  for 
the  following  periods: 

Three  months,  one-third;  six  months,  one-half;  nine  months,  three- 
fourths;  one  year,  full  amount. 

Death  benefits,  $40. 

Weekly  dues,  5  cents. 

Upon  payment  of  10  cents  weekly  dues,  children  from  six  to  eleven 
years  will  be  paid  weekly  sick  benefits  of  $2.50. 

Membership  fee  for  children,  50  cents. 

Membership  fee  for  adults,  $i. 

Into  these  companies  a  large  part  of  the  income  of  many 
families  goes.  For  instance,  let  us  examine  the  expendi 
tures  of  certain  actual  families  for  such  insurance,  remem 
bering  that  the  total  income  of  these  families  is  in  most 
cases  $20  to  $40  a  month. 

Monthly. 

1.  A  family  of  2  adults  and  2  children  (stevedore)  .   .  $3 . 29 

2.  A  family  of  2  adults  have  for  10  years  paid  ....    I .  oo 

3.  A  family  of  4  adults 2.20 

4.  A  family  of  4  adults 2.40 

5.  A  family  of  i  adult  and  i  child 2-00 

6.  A  family  of  4  adults 1.84 


1 88  The  Negro  Family.  [Chap.  XI. 

Monthly. 

7.  A  family  of  i  adult $2'57 

8.  A  family  of  2  adults  (waiter) 2.20 

9.  A  family  of  2  adults  (servant) " 1.5° 

10.  A  family  of  5  adults  and  2  children  (laborer)  .    .    .  3.00 

11.  A  family  of  2  adults  and  3  children  (stevedore)  .    .  i  .44 

12.  A  family  of  9  adults  and  i  child 5-oo 

13.  A  family  of  8  adults  and  4  children 4 . 2° 

14.  A  family  of  9  adults 4,43 

15.  A  family  of  2  adults 2.50 

1 6.  A  family  of  2  adults  (stevedore) 3-°° 

17.  A  family  of  2  adults  (stevedore) 3,00 

1 8.  A  family  of  10  adults 8.50 

19.  A  family  of  2  adults,  i  child  (stevedore)  .    .    -   .  5.00 

20.  A  family  of  5  adults,  i  child 5.°° 

21.  A  family  of  3  adults 3-9° 

22.  A  family  of  4  adults,  i  child  (laborer) 5,00 

23.  A  family  of  2  adults,  3  children  (waiter)  .       ...  4,60 

It  is  impossible  to  get  accurate  returns  as  to  the  total 
amount  spent  by  the  Negroes  of  the  Seventh  Ward  for  in 
surance  in  such  societies,  but  answers  to  questions  on  this 
point  indicate  a  total  expenditure  of  approximately  $25,000 
annually.  For  this  enormous  outlay  something  conies 
back  in  the  benefits,  but  probably  much  less  than  half. 
The  method  of  conducting  these  societies  puts  a  premium 
on  dishonesty  and  misrepresentation  and  a  tax  on  honesty 
and  health.  A  certain  class  of  the  insured  get  sick  regu 
larly  and  draw  benefits  and  are  winked  at  by  the  societies 
as  a  paying  advertisement  on  the  street.  Their  honest 
neighbors  on  the  other  hand  will  struggle  on  and  work  for 
years,  paying  regularly — in  some  cases  five,  ten  and  fifteen 
or  more  years  in  various  societies — only  to  be  cheated  out 
of  their  insurance  by  rascally  agents,  or  conniving  home 
offices,  or  their  own  failure  at  the  last  moment  to  keep  up 
payments.  Of  course  the  sum  involved  is  too  small,  and 
the  cheated  persons  too  unknown  and  lowly  to  lead  to  liti 
gation.  Let  us  take  some  examples  :15 


15  Once  in  a  while  the  affairs  of  one  of  these  companies  are  revealed  to 
the  public,  as  for  instance,  the  following  noted  in  the  Public  Ledger \ 


Sect  29.]  Property,  189 

1.  This  family  lost  $100  paid  in  for  insurance,  by  final 
lapse  in  payments.     The  woman  was  sixty  years  old,  and 
poor. 

2.  This  family  belonged  to  the society  ten  years 

and  paid  $12  a  year.     Finally  fell  seven  days  in  arrears 
with  payments,  and  was  dropped.     Had  received  $65  in 
benefits. 

3.  This  family  had  paid  in  $50 ;  was  one  day  behind  and 
was  dropped. 

4.  This  family  had  a  woman  insured  for  $2.50  a  week, 
and  $50  at  death.     She  received  no  sick  benefits  at  all, 


October  20,  1896.  The  company  became  bankrupt,  and  its  affairs  were 
found  hopelessly  involved. 

"  This  was  the  scheme,  according  to  the  former  agent  and  some  of  the 
certificate  holders.  Upon  the  payment  of  ten  cents  a  week  for  seven 
years,  the  subscriber  was  promised  $100,  to  be  paid  at  the  end  of  the 
seventh  year.  In  a  year  ten  cents  a  week  would  amount  to  $5.20;  in 
seven  years  to  $, 36.40.  The  Keystone  Investment  Company  promised  to 
give  |ioo  for  $36.40. 

4  *  Later  the  assessment  was  raised  to  fifteen  cents  a  week.  This  would 
amount  in  seven  years  to  $54. 60,  for  which  sum  $100  was  promised  in 
return .  Some  few  of  the  certificate  holders  paid  twenty  cents  a  week,  it 
is  said.  This,  in  seven  years,  would  amount  to  $72.80,  for  which  sum, 
according  to  the  agreement,  the  certificate  holder  was  to  be  paid  $100. 

"  Just  how  many  subscribers  the  company  had  it  is  impossible  to  leant 
from  the  ofiicers.  A  gentleman,  who  has  a  store  next  door  to  the  com 
pany's  office,  said  yesterday  that  a  great  many  people  went  there  each 
week  to  pay  their  assessments.  They  appeared  to  be  poor  people,  he 
said.  There  were  a  great  many  Negroes  among  them,  and  some  of  them, 
he  said,  came  from  New  Jersey. 

"  The  concern  started  in  business  in  1891,  and  has  always  occupied  its 
present  quarters,  which  are  very  unpretentious,  by  the  way,  for  a  financial 
company  of  any  standing.  A  lady  residing  on  Girard  avenue,  east  of 
Hanover  street,  yesterday  related  her  experience  with  the  company  as 
follows: 

**  *I  invested  in  certificates  for  my  mother  and  my  little  daughter, 
paying  fifteen  cents  a  week  on  each.  The  agreement  was  that  each  was 
to  receive  $100  at  the  end  of  seven  years.  I  have  been  paying  for  my 
little  girl  nearly  three  years,  and  for  my  mother  nearly  two  years.  It 
will  be  two  years  next  Christmas.  The  payments  were  made  regu 
larly.  On  both  certificates  I  have  paid  in  about  $35,*  '* 


The  Negro  Family.  [Chap.  XI. 


and  only  $20  at  death.     They  said  :     "  We  stint  ourselves 
of  our  victuals  to  keep  up  and  then  lose  it  all." 

5.  A  family  who  put  $75  into  a  society  and  lost  it  all. 

6.  A  mother  was  in  the society  two  years.  When 

she  was  taken  sick,  she  sent  her  child  to  notify  them  ;  they 
took  no  notice  of  this  on  the  ground  that  the  notification 
by  a  child  was  not  legal,  and  paid  her  nothing. 

7.  This  man  was  a  member  of  the society  fifteen 

years,  and  his  wife  seven  years ;   paid  in  $354  in  all  and 
drew  out  $90  in  benefits  ;  the  society  then    "  discovered  " 
that  the  man  belonged  to  the  G.  A.  R.,  and  dropped  him 
and  kept  the  money. 

8.  This  man  belonged  to  a  society  seven  years,  at  $1.30 
per  month  ;  received   $20   in   benefits  and  lost   the   rest 
through  a  lapse  in  payments. 

9.  This  family  belonged  to  different  societies  eight  years 
and  lost  all  the  money  invested. 

10.  This  person  was  a  member  of  a  society  some  time, 
when  the  collector  absconded  with  the  money,  and  the  so 
ciety  refused  to  bear  the  responsibility. 

11.  The  mother  had  paid  $54.60  to  a  society  for  a  death 
benefit,  but  at  her  death  the  society  paid  nothing. 

12.  The  society  collapsed  and  this  person  lost  $75. 

13.  This  family  invested  $1.23  a  month  with  a  society 
for  thirteen  years  in  order  to  receive  $200  endowment. 
This  was  at  the  rate  of  $73.80  annually  for  a  $1000  policy  ! 

14.  This  man  has  paid  in  $88  so  far,  and  has  never  re 
ceived  sick  or  other  benefits. 

15.  This  woman  had  belonged  to  a  society  for  years  and 
was  once  taken  sick  just  before  the  agent  called.     When 
he  came  he  was  asked  to  return,  as  the  sick  woman  was 
asleep.     He  did  not  return,  and  when   a  claim  for  sick 
benefits  was  made,  it  was  denied  on  the  ground  that  the 
woman  had  not  paid  her  dues  when  the  agent  called. 

In  many  other  cases  the  matter  of  age  is  made  a  loop 
hole  for  cheating ;  numbers  of  the  Negroes  do  not  know 


Sect.  29.]  Property.  191 

their  exact  ages ;  in  such  cases  the  insurance  agent  will 
suggest  an  age,  usually  below  the  evident  truth,  and  insert 
it  in  the  policy ;  if  the  insured  dies  the  physician  guesses 
at  another  age  nearer  the  truth,  and  inserts  it  in  the  death 
certificate.  Thereupon  the  insurance  company  points  to 
the  discrepancy,  alleges  an  attempt  to  deceive  on  the  part 
of  the  insured,  and  either  refuses  to  pay  any  of  the  policy 
or  generally  offers  to  compound  for  a  half  or  a  third  of  the 
amount  promised.  This  is  perhaps  the  most  common  form 
of  cheating  outside  the  failure  to  account  for  the  payments 
of  lapsed  members.  In  some  cases  the  home  office  pays 
the  death  claim,  and  the  local  office  or  agent  cheats  the 
insured. 

Without  doubt  such  societies  meet  outrageous  attempts 
at  deception  on  the  part  of  the  insured  ;  and  yet  since  their 
methods  of  business  put  a  premium  on  this  sort  of  cheat 
ing  they  can  hardly  complain.  The  whole  business  is 
nothing  more  than  gambling,  where  one  set  of  sharpers  bet 
against  another  set,  and  the  honest  hard-working  but 
ignorant  toilers  pay  the  bill.16  With  all  the  harm  that 
open  policy-playing  and  other  sorts  of  gambling  do,  it  is  to 
be  doubted  if  their  effects  on  character  are  more  deleterious 
than  this  form  of  insurance  business.  The  Negroes  by  the 
crime  of  the  Preedmen's  Bank  have  been  long  prejudiced 
against  banks,  and  this  business  encourages  their  aversion 
to  the  slow,  sure  methods  of  saving.  If  the  colored  people 
are  ever  to  learn  u  forehandedness,"  in  place  of  the  slip 
shod  chance  methods  of  living,  the  savings-bank  must 
soon  replace  the  insurance  society ;  and  that  they  could 
support  savings-banks  in  abundance  is  shown  by  the  fact 


*  As  before  noted,  I  am  aware  that  a  few  of  these  societies  do  not 
wholly  deserve  this  sweeping  condemnation,  and  that  all  of  them  are 
defended  by  certain  short-sighted  persons  as  encouraging  savings.  My 
observation  convinces  me,  however,  of  the  substantial  truth  of  my  con 
clusions.  Of  course,  all  this  has  nothing  to  do  with  the  legitimate  life 
insurance  business. 


192  The  Negro  Family.  [Chap.  XI. 

that  they  annually  invest  between  $75,000  and  $100,000 
in  insurance  societies  in  the  city  of  Philadelphia. 

It  is  not  generally  known  how  lucrative  a  business  the 
exploitation  of  the  Negro  in  various  lines  has  become.  In 
ornaments,  clothes,  entertainments,  books  and  investment 
schemes,  the  shrewd  and  unscrupulous  have  a  broad  field 
of  work,  and  it  is  being  industriously  cultivated,  especially 
by  whites  and  to  some  extent  by  certain  classes  of  Negroes. 
Instead  then  of  a  struggling  people  being  met  by  aid  in 
the  direction  of  their  greatest  weakness,  they  are  sur 
rounded  by  agencies  which  tend  to  make  them  more 
wasteful  and  dependent  on  chance  than  they  are  now. 
One  has  only  to  watch  the  pawn-brokers'  shops  on  Satur 
day  night  in  winter  to  see  how  largely  Negroes  support 
them  ;  and  it  is  but  a  step  from  the  insurance  society  to 
the  pawnshop  and  thence  to  the  policy  shop. 

30.  Family  Life. — Among  the  masses  of  the  Negro 
people  in  America  the  monogamic  home  is  comparatively 
a  new  institution,  not  more  than  two  or  three  generations 
old.  The  Africans  were  taken  from  polygamy  and  trans 
planted  into  a  plantation  where  the  home  life  was  pro 
tected  only  by  the  caprice  of  the  master,  and  practically 
unregulated  polygamy  and  polyandry  was  the  result,  on  the 
plantations  of  the  West  Indies.  In  States  like  Pennsyl 
vania  the  marriage  institution  among  slaves  was  early 
established  and  maintained.  Consequently  one  meets 
among  the  Philadelphia  Negroes  the  result  of  both 
systems — the  looseness  of  plantation  life  and  the  strictness 
of  Quaker  teaching.  Among  the  lowest  class  of  recent 
immigrants  and  other  unfortunates  there  is  much  sexual 
promiscuity  and  the  absence  of  a  real  home  life.  Actual 
prostitution  for  gain  is  not  as  widespread  as  would  at  first 
thought  seem  natural.  On  the  other  hand,  there  are  two 
widespread  systems  among  the  lowest  classes,  viz.,  tem 
porary  cohabitation  and  the  support  of  men.  Cohabitation 
of  a  more  or  less  permanent  character  is  a  direct  offshoot 


Sect.  30.]  Family  Life. 

of  the  plantation  life  and  is  practiced  considerably  ;  in 
distinctly  slum  districts,  like  that  at  Seventh  and  Lom 
bard,  from  10  to  25  per  cent  of  the  unions  are  of  this 
nature.  Some  of  them  are  simply  common-law  marriages 
and  are  practically  never  broken.  Others  are  compacts, 
which  last  for  two  to  ten  years  ;  others  for  some  months  ; 
in  most  of  these  cases  the  women  are  not  prostitutes,  but 
rather  ignorant  and  loose.  In  such  cases  there  is,  of  course, 
little  home  life,  rather  a  sort  of  neighborhood  life,  center 
ing  in  the  alleys  and  on  the  sidewalks,  where  the  children 
are  educated.  Of  the  great  mass  of  Negroes  this  class 
forms  a  very  small  percentage  and  is  absolutely  with 
out  social  standing.  They  are  the  dregs  which  indicate 
the  former  history  and  the  dangerous  tendencies  of  the 
masses.  The  system  of  supporting  men  is  one  common 
among  the  prostitutes  of  all  countries,  and  widespread 
among  the  Negro  women  of  the  town.  Two  little  colored 
girls  walking  along  South  street  stopped  before  a  gaudy 
pair  of  men's  shoes  displayed  in  a  shop  window,  and  one 
said :  "  That's  the  kind  of  shoes  I'd  buy  my  fellow !  »  The 
remark  fixed  their  life  history  ;  they  were  from  among  the 
prostitutes  of  Middle  Alley,  or  Ratcliffe  street,  or  some 
similar  resort,  where  each  woman  supports  some  man  from 
the  results  of  her  gains.  The  majority  of  the  well-dressed 
loafers  whom  one  sees  on  Locust  street  near  Ninth,  on  Lom 
bard  near  Seventh  and  Seventeenth,  on  Twelfth  near  Kater, 
and  in  other  such  localities,  are  supported  by  prostitutes  and 
political  largesse,  and  spend  their  time  in  gambling.  They 
are  absolutely  without  home  life,  and  form  the  most  dan 
gerous  class  in  the  community,  both  for  crime  and  political 
corruption. 

Leaving  the  slums  and  coming  to  the  great  mass  of  the 
Negro  population  we  see  undoubted  effort  has  been  made 
to  establish  homes.  Two  great  hindrances,  however,  cause 
much  mischief:  the  low  wages  of  men  and  the  high  rents. 
The  low  wages  of  men  make  it  necessary  for  mothers  to 


194  The  Negro  Family.  [Chap.  XI. 

work  and  in  numbers  of  cases  to  work  away  from  home  sev 
eral  days  in  the  week.  This  leaves  the  children  without 
guidance  or  restraint  for  the  better  part  of  the  day — a  thing 
disastrous  to  manners  and  morals.  To  this  must  be  added 
the  result  of  high  rents,  namely,  the  lodging  system.  Who 
ever  wishes  to  live  in  the  centre  of  Negro  population,  near 
the  great  churches  and  near  work,  must  pay  high  rent 
for  a  decent  house.  This  rent  the  average  Negro  family 
cannot  afford,  and  to  get  the  house  they  sub-rent  a  part  to 
lodgers.  As  a  a  consequence,  38  per  cent  of  the  homes  of 
the  Seventh  Ward  have  unknown  strangers  admitted  freely 
into  their  doors.  The  result  is,  on  the  whole,  pernicious, 
especially  where  there  are  growing  children.  Moreover, 
the  tiny  Philadelphia  houses  are  ill  suited  to  a  lodging 
system.  The  lodgers  are  often  waiters,  who  are  at  home 
between  meals,  at  the  very  hours  when  the  housewife  is  off 
at  work,  and  growing  daughters  are  thus  left  unprotected. 
In  some  cases,  though  this  is  less  often,  servant  girls  and 
other  female  lodgers  are  taken.  In  such  ways  the  privacy 
and  intimacy  of  home  life  is  destroyed,  and  elements  of 
danger  and  demoralization  admitted.  Many  families  see 
this  and  refuse  to  take  lodgers,  and  move  where  they  can 
afford  the  rent  without  help.  This  involves  more  depriva 
tions  to  a  socially  ostracized  race  like  the  Negro  than  to 
whites,  since  it  often  means  hostile  neighbors  or  no  social 
intercourse.  If  a  number  of  Negroes  settle  together,  the 
real  estate  agents  dump  undesirable  elements  among  them, 
which  some  enthusiastic  association  has  driven  from  the 
slums. 

There  are  a  large  number  of  waiters,  porters  and  ser 
vant  girls  in  the  city  who  naturally  have  no  home  life  and 
are  exposed  to  peculiar  temptations.  The  church  is  the 
rallying  place  of  the  best  class  of  these  young  people,  and 
it  attempts  to  furnish  their  amusements.  Loafing  and 
promenading  the  streets  is  the  only  other  entertainment 
most  of  these  young  folks  have.  They  form  a  serious 


Sect  30.]  Family  Life.  195 

problem,  to  which  the  lodging  system  is  the  only  attempted 
answer,  and  that  a  dangerous  one.  Homes  and  clubs 
properly  conducted  ought  to  be  opened  for  them.  A 
Young  Men's  Christian  Association  which  would  not 
degenerate  into  an  endless  prayer  meeting  might  meet  the 
wants  of  the  young  men. 

The  home  life  of  the  middle  laboring  class  lacks  many 
of  the  pleasant  features  of  good  homes.  Traces  of  plan 
tation  customs  still  persist,  and  there  is  a  widespread  cus 
tom  of  seeking  amusement  outside  the  home ;  thus  the 
home  becomes  a  place  for  a  hurried  meal  now  and  then, 
and  lodging.  Only  on  Sundays  does  the  general  gathering 
in  the  front  room,  the  visits  and  leisurely  dinnei;  smack  of 
proper  home  life.  Nevertheless,  the  spirit  of  home  life  is 
steadily  growing.  Nearly  all  the  housewives  deplore  the 
lodging  system  and  the  work  that  keeps  them  away  from 
home;  and  there  is  a  widespread  desire  to  remedy  these 
evils  and  the  other  evil  which  is  akin  to  them,  the  allow 
ing  of  children  and  young  women  to  be  out  unattended  at 
night. 

In  the  better  class  families  there  is  a  pleasant  family  life 
of  distinctly  Quaker  characteristics.  One  can  go  into  such 
homes  in  the  Seventh  Ward  and  find  all  the  quiet  comfort 
and  simple  good-hearted  fare  that  one  would  expect  among 
well-bred  people.  In  some  cases  the  homes  are  lavishly 
furnished,  in  others  they  are  homely  and  old-fashioned. 
Even  in  the  best  homes,  however,  there  is  easily  detected 
a  tendency  to  let  the  communal  church  and  society  life 
trespass  upon  the  home.  There  are  fewer  strictly  family 
gatherings  than  would  be  desirable,  fewer  simple  neighbor 
hood  gatherings  and  visits ;  in  their  place  are  the  church 
teas,  the  hall  concerts,  or  the  elaborate  parties  given  by  the 
richer  and  more  ostentatious.  These  things  are  of  no  par 
ticular  moment  to  the  circle  of  families  involved,  but  they 
set  an  example  to  the  masses  which  may  be  misleading. 
The  mass  of  the  Negro  people  must  be  taught  sacredly  to 


196  The  Negro  Family.  [Cliap.  XI. 

guard  the  home,  to  make  it  the  centre  of  social  life  and 
moral  guardianship.  This  it  is  largely  among  the  best 
class  of  Negroes,  but  it  might  be  made  even  more  con 
spicuously  so  than  it  is.  Such  emphasis  undoubtedly 
means  the  decreased  influence  of  the  Negro  church,  and 
that  is  a  desirable  thing. 

On  the  whole,  the  Negro  has  few  family  festivals ;  birth 
days  are  not  often  noticed,  Christmas  is  a  time  of  church 
and  general  entertainments,  Thanksgiving  is  coming  to  be 
widely  celebrated,  but  here  again  in  churches  as  much  as 
in  homes.  The  home  was  destroyed  by  slavery,  struggled 
up  after  emancipation^nd  is  again  not  exactly  threatened, 
but  neglected  in  the  life  of  city  Negroes.  Herein  lies  food 
for  thought. 


CHAPTER  XII. 

THE   ORGANIZED   LIFE   OF   NEGROES. 

31.  History  of  the  Negro  Church  in  Philadelphia. — 
We  have  already  followed  the  history  of  the  rise  of  the 
Free  African  Society,  which  was  the  beginning  of  the 
Negro  Church  in  the  North.1  We  often  forget  that  the 
rise  of  a  church  organization  among  Negroes  was  a  curious 
phenomenon.  The  church  really  represented  all  that  was 
left  of  African  tribal  life,  and  was  the  sole  expression  of 
the  organized  eiforts  of  the  slaves.  It  was  natural  that 
any  movement  among  freedmen  should  centre  about  their 
religious  life,  the  sole  remaining  element  of  their  former 
tribal  system.  Consequently  when,  led  by  two  strong  men, 
they  left  the  white  Methodist  Church,  they  were  naturally 
unable  to  form  any  democratic  moral  reform  association ; 
they  must  be  led  and  guided,  and  this  guidance  must  have 
the  religious  sanction  that  tribal  government  always  has. 
Consequently  Jones  and  Allen,  the  leaders  of  the  Free 
African  Society,  as  early  as  1791  began  regular  religious 
exercises,  and  at  the  close  of  the  eighteenth  century  there 
were  three  Negro  churches  in  the  city,  two  of  which  were 
independent.2 


1  Cf.  Chapter  III. 

a  St.  Thomas',  Bethel  and  Zoar.  The  history  of  Zoar  is  of  interest.  It 
"extends  over  a  period  of  one  hundred  years,  being  as  it  is  an  offspring 
of  St.  George's  Church,  Fourth  and  Vine  streets,  the  first  Methodist 
Episcopal  church  to  be  established  in  this  country,  and  in  whose  edifice 
the  first  American  Conference  of  that  denomination  was  held.  Zoar 
Church  had  its  origin  in  1794,  when  members  of  St,  George's  Church, 
established  a  mission  in  what -was  then  known  as  Campingtown,  now 
known  as  Fourth  and  Brown  streets,  at  which  place  its  first  chapel  was 
built.  There  it  remained  until  1883,  when  economic  and  sociological 


I98  Organized  Life  of  Negroes.       [Chap.  XII. 

St.  Thomas'  Church  has  had  a  most  interesting  history. 
It  early  declared  its  purpose  "  of  advancing  our  friends  in 
a  true  knowledge  of  God,  of  true  religion,  and  of  the  ways 
and  means  to  restore  our  long  lost  race  to  the  dignity  of 
men  and  of  Christians." 3  The  church  offered  itself  to  the 
Protestant  Episcopal  Church  and  was  accepted  on  condi 
tion  that  they  take  no  part  in  the  government  of  the  gen 
eral  church.  Their  leader,  Absalom  Jones,  was  ordained 
deacon  and  priest,  and  took  charge  of  the  church.  In  1804 
the  church  established  a  day  school  which  lasted  until 
i8i6/  In  1849  St.  Thomas'  began  a  series  of  attempts 
to  gain  full  recognition  in  the  Church  by  a  demand  for 
delegates  to  the  Church  gatherings.  The  Assembly  first 
declared  that  it  was  not  expedient  to  allow  Negroes  to 
take  part.  To  this  the  vestry  returned  a  dignified  answer, 
asserting  that  "  expediency  is  no  plea  against  the  violation 
of  the  great  principles  of  charity,  mercy,  justice  and 
truth."  Not  until  1864  was  ^e  Negro  body  received  into 
full  fellowship  with  the  Church.  In  the  century  and  more 
of  its  existence  St.  Thomas'  has  always  represented  a  high 
grade  of  intelligence,  and  to-day  it  still  represents  the  most 
cultured  and  wealthiest  of  the  Negro  population  and  the 
Philadelphia  born  residents.  Its  membership  has  conse- 


causes  made  necessary  the  selection  of  a  new  site.  The  city  had  grown, 
and  industries  of  a  character  in  which  the  Negroes  were  not  interested 
had  developed  in  the  neighborhood,  and,  as  the  colored  people  were 
rapidly  moving  to  a  different  section  of  the  city,  it  was  decided  that 
the  church  should  follow,  and  the  old  building  was  sold.  Through  the 
liberality  of  Colonel  Joseph  M.  Bennett  a  brick  building  was  erected  on 
Melon  street,  above  Twelfth. 

**  Since  then  the  congregation  has  steadily  increased  in  numbers,  until 
in  August  of  this  year  it  was  found  necessary  to  enlarge  the  edifice.  The 
corner-stone  of  the  new  front  was  laid  two  months  ago.  The  present 
membership  of  the  church  is  about  550." — Public  Ledger >  November  15, 
1897. 

*  See  Douglass'  "  Annals  of  St.  Thomas'." 

*  It  was  then  turned  into  a  private  school  and  supported  largely  by  an 
English  educational  fund. 


Sect.  31.]        Negro  Church  in  Philadelphia.  199 

quently  always  been  small,  being  246  in  1794,  427  in  1795, 
105  in  1860,  and  391  in  i897.5 

The  growth  of  Bethel  Church,  founded  by  Richard 
Allen,  on  South  Sixth  Street,  has  been  so  phenomenal  that 
it  belongs  to  the  history  of  the  nation  rather  than  to  any 
one  city.  Prom  a  weekly  gathering  which  met  in  Allen's 
blacksmith  shop  on  Sixth  near  Lombard,  grew  a  large 
church  edifice  ;  other  churches  were  formed  under  the  same 
general  plan,  and  Allen,  as  overseer  of  them,  finally  took  the 
title  of  bishop  and  ordained  other  bishops.  The  Church, 
under  the  name  of  African  Methodist  Episcopal,  grew  and 
spread  until  in  1890  the  organization  had  452,725  members, 
2481  churches  and  $6,468,280  worth  of  property.6 

By  i8i37  there  were  in  Philadelphia  six  Negro  churches 
with  the  following  membership  : 8 

St.  Thomas',  P.  B 560 

Bethel,  A.  M.  B. 1272 

Zoar,  M.  E 80 

Union,  A.  M.  B 74 

Baptist,  Race  and  Vine  Streets So 

Presbyterian 300 

2366 

The  Presbyterian  Church  had  been  founded  by  two 
Negro  missionaries,  father  and  son,  named  Gloucester,  in 
iSoy.9  The  Baptist  Church  was  founded  in  1809.  The 
inquiry  of  1838  gives  these  statistics  of  churches  : 

5  St.  Thomas1  has  suffered  often  among  Negroes  from  the  opprobrium 
of  being  "aristocratic,"  and  is  to-day  by  no  means  a  popular  church 
among  the  masses.  Perhaps  there  is  some  justice  in  this  charge,  but 
the  church  has  nevertheless  always  been  foremost  in  good  work  and 
has  many  public  spirited  Negroes  on  its  rolls. 

6Cf.  U.  S.  Census,  Statistics  of  Churches,  1890. 

7  In  1809  the  leading  Negro  churches  formed  a  "  Society  for  Suppress 
ing  Vice  and  Immorality, >J  which  received  the  endorsement  of  Chief 
Justice  Tilghman,  Benjamin  Franklin,  Jacob  Rush,  and  others. 

»*'  Condition  of  Negroes,  1838,"  pp.  39-40. 

*C£  Robert  Jones*  "Fifty  years  in  Central  Church."  John  Gloucester 
began  preaching  in  1807  at  Seventh  and  Bainbridge. 


2OO 


Organised  Life  of  Negroes.        [Chap.  XII. 


Denomination. 

No. 

Churches. 

Members. 

Annual 
Expenses. 

Value  of 
Property. 

Incum- 
brance. 

Episcopalian    .... 
Lutheran  .  .       ... 

I 
I 

100 
IO 

$1,000 
120 

136,000 
3,000 

$r,ooo 

Methodist  

8 

2,860 

2,IOO 

50,800 

5,100 

Presbyterian    .... 
Baptist       

2 

4 

325 
700 

1,500 
1,300 

20,000 

4,200 

1,000 

Total  

16 

3.995 

$6,020 

$114,000 

$7,100 

Three  more  churches  were  added  in  the  next  ten  years, 
and  then  a  reaction  followed.10  By  1867  there  were  in  all 
probability  nearly  twenty  churches,  of  which  we  have 
statistics  of  seventeen  :u 

STATISTICS  OF  NEGRO  CHURCHES,  1867. 


Name. 

Founded. 

Number  of 
Members. 

Value  of 
Property. 

Pastors' 
Salary. 

P,E.— 

St    TTiryrri^V 

I7Q2 

Methodist  — 
Bethel  .    .               

1794 

1,100 

$50,000 

$600 

Union                 ... 

1827 

467 

4O,OOO 

850 

Wesley    .              .... 

1817 

464 

2I,OOO 

7OO 

Zoar                              .   .   . 

I7Q4. 

400 

I2,OOO 

John  Wesley  .   

1844 

42 

3,OOO 

No  regular 

Little  Wesley    

1821 

310 

II.OOO 

50O 

Piserah  ...                  ... 

1811 

116 

4,600 

430 

Zion  City  Mission    .... 
Little  Union  .... 

1858 
i8v7 

90 
200 

4>500 

Baptist— 
First  Baptist  

1809 

360 

5,OOO 

Union  Baptist    .... 

400 

7,OOO 

600 

Shiloh     

1842 

405 

l6,OOO 

600 

Oak  Street  .    .           .... 

1827 

117 

Presbyterian  — 
First  Presbyterian    .... 
Second  Presbyterian 

1807 
1824 

2OO 

8,000 

.    .    . 

Central  Presbyterian   .   .   . 

1844 

240 

16,000 

.    .    . 

Since  the  war  the  growth  of  Negro  churches  has  been 
by  bounds,  there  being  twenty-five  churches  and  missions 
in  1880,  and  fifty-five  in  1897. 


10 In  1847  there  were  19  churches;  12  of  these  had  3974  members;  n 
of  the  edifices  cost  $67,000.  "  Statistical  Inquiry,"  1848,  pp.  29,  30. 

In  1854  there  were  19  churches  reported  and  1677  Sunday-school 
scholars*  Bacon,  1856. 

11  See  Inquiry  of  1867. 


Sect.  32.]         Function  of  the  Negro  Church.  201 

So  phenomenal  a  growth,  as  this  here  outlined  means 
more  than  the  establishment  of  many  places  of  worship. 
The  Negro  is,  to  be  sure,  a  religious  creature — most  primi 
tive  folk  are — but  his  rapid  and  even  extraordinary- 
founding  of  churches  is  not  due  to  this  fact  alone,  but  is 
rather  a  measure  of  his  development,  an  indication  of  the 
increasing  intricacy  of  his  social  life  and  the  consequent 
multiplication  of  the  organ  which  is  the  function  of  his 
group  life — the  church.  To  understand  this  let  us  inquire 
into  the  function  of  the  Negro  church. 

32.  The  Function  of  the  Negro  Church, — The  Negro 
church  is  the  peculiar  and  characteristic  product  of  the 
transplanted  African,  and  deserves  especial  study.  As  a 
social  group  the  Negro  church  may  be  said  to  have  ante 
dated  the  Negro  family  on  American  soil ;  as  such  it  has 
preserved,  on  the  one  hand,  many  functions  of  tribal 
organization,  and  on  the  other  hand,  many  of  the  family 
functions.  Its  tribal  functions  are  shown  in  its  religious 
activity,  its  social  authority  and  general  guiding  and 
co-ordinating  work  ;  its  family  functions  are  shown  by  the 
fact  that  the  church  is  a  centre  of  social  life  and  inter 
course  ;  acts  as  newspaper  and  intelligence  bureau,  is  the 
centre  of  amusements — indeed,  is  the  world  in  which  the 
Negro  moves  and  acts.  So  far-reaching  are  these  functions 
of  the  church  that  its  organization  is  almost  political.  In 
Bethel  Church,  for  instance,  the  mother  African  Methodist 
Episcopal  Church  of  America,  we  have  the  following 
officials  and  organizations  : 

The  Bishop  of  the  District . \ 

The  Presiding  Elder I  Executive. 

The  Pastor .  J 

The  Board  of  Trustees     .........      Executive  Council. 

General  Church  Meeting Legislative. 

The  Board  of  Stewards    ........  \ 

The  Board  of  Stewardesses I  Financial  Board. 

The  Junior  Stewardesses . J 

The  Sunday  School  Organization     .   .   .      Educational  System. 
Indies'  Auxiliary,  Volunteer  Guild,  etc.      Tax  Collectors, 


202  Organized  Life  of  Negroes.        [Chap.  XII. 

Ushers'  Association Police. 

Class  Leaders \SheriffsandMagistrates. 

Local  Preachers J 

Choir Music  and  Amusement. 

Allen  Guards Militia. 

Missionary  Societies Social  Reformers. 

Beneficial  and  Semi-Secret  Societies,  etc.    Corporations. 

Or  to  put  it  differently,  here  we  have  a  mayor,  appointed 
from  without,  with  great  administrative  and  legislative  pow 
ers,  although  well  limited  by  long  and  zealously  cherished 
custom ;  he  acts  conjointly  with  a  select  coimcil,  the  trustees, 
a  board  of  finance,  composed  of  stewards  and  stewardesses, 
a  common  council  of  committees  and,  occasionally,  of  all 
church  members.  The  various  functions  of  the  church  are 
carried  out  by  societies  and  organizations.  The  form  of 
government  varies,  but  is  generally  some  form  of  democracy 
closely  guarded  by  custom  and  tempered  by  possible  and 
not  infrequent  secession. 

The  functions  of  such  churches  in  order  of  present 
emphasis  are : 

1.  The  raising  of  the  annual  budget. 

2.  The  maintenance  of  membership. 

3.  Social  intercourse  and  amusements. 

4.  The  setting  of  moral  standards. 

5.  Promotion  of  general  intelligence. 

6.  Efforts  for  social  betterment. 

i.  The  annual  budget  is  of  first  importance,  because 
the  life  of  the  organization  depends  upon  it.  The  amount 
of  expenditure  is  not  very  accurately  determined  before 
hand,  although  its  main  items  do  not  vary  much.  There 
is  the  pastor's  salary,  the  maintenance  of  the  building, 
light  and  heat,  the  wages  of  a  janitor,  contributions  to 
various  church  objects,  and  the  like,  to  which  must  be 
usually  added  the  interest  on  some  debt.  The  sum  thus 
required  varies  in  Philadelphia  from  $200  to  $5000.  A 
small  part  of  this  is  raised  by  a  direct  tax  on  each  mem 
ber.  Besides  this,  voluntary  contributions  by  members, 


Sect.  32.]        Function  of  the  Negro  Church.  203 

roughly  gauged  according  to  ability,  are  expected,  and  a 
strong  public  opinion  usually  compels  payment  Another 
large  source  of  revenue  is  the  collection  after  the  ser 
mons  on  Sunday,  when,  amid  the  reading  of  notices  and 
a  subdued  hum  of  social  intercourse,  a  stream  of  givers 
walk  to  the  pulpit  and  place  in  the  hands  of  the  trustee  or 
steward  in  charge  a  contribution,  varying  from  a  cent  to  a 
dollar  or  more.  To  this  must  be  added  the  steady  revenue 
from  entertainments,  suppers,  socials,  fairs,  and  the  like. 
In  this  way  the  Negro  churches  of  Philadelphia  raise 
nearly  $100,000  a  year.  They  hold  in  real  estate  $900,000 
worth  of  property,  and  are  thus  no  insignificant  element  in 
the  economics  of  the  city. 

2.  Extraordinary  methods  are  used  and  efforts  made  to 
maintain  and   increase   the  membership  of    the  various 
churches.     To  be  a  popular  church  with  large  membership 
means  ample  revenues,  large  social  influence  and  a  leader 
ship  among  the  colored  people  unequaled  in  power  and 
effectiveness.     Consequently  people  are  attracted   to   the 
church  by  sermons,  by  music  and  by  entertainments ;  finally, 
every  year  a  revival  is  held,  at  which  considerable  numbers 
of  young  people  are  converted.    All  this  is  done  in  perfect 
sincerity  and  without  much  thought  of  merely  increasing 
membership,  and  yet  every  small  church  strives  to  be  large 
by  these  means  and  every  large  church  to  maintain  itself 
or  grow  larger.     The  churches  thus  vary  from  a  dozen  to 
a  thousand  members. 

3.  Without  wholly  conscious  effort  the  Negro  church 
has  become  a  centre  of  social    intercourse   to  a  degree 
unknown  in  white  churches  even  in  the  country.     The 
various  churches,   too,   represent  social   classes.     At   St. 
Thomas'  one  looks  for  the  well-to-do  Philadelphians,  largely 
descendants  of  favorite  mulatto  house  servants,  and  conse 
quently  well-bred  and  educated,  but  rather  cold  and  reserved 
to  strangers  or  newcomers ;  at  Central  Presbyterian  one 
sees  the  older,  simpler  set  of  respectable  Philadelphians 


2c>4  Organised  Life  of  Negroes.        [Chap.  XII. 

with  distinctly  Quaker  characteristics— pleasant  but  con 
servative  ;  at  Bethel  may  be  seen  the  best  of  the  great 
laboring  class— steady,  honest  people,  well  dressed  and  well 
fed,  with  church  and  family  traditions ;  at  Wesley  will  be 
found  the  new  arrivals,  the  sight-seers  and  the  strangers  to 
the  city— hearty  and  easy-going  people,  who  welcome  all 
comers  and  ask  few  questions ;  at  Union  Baptist  one  may 
look  for  the  Virginia  servant  girls  and  their  young  men  ; 
and  so  on  throughout  the  city.  Each  church  forms  its 
own  social  circle,  and  not  many  stray  beyond  its  bounds. 
Introductions  into  that  circle  come  through  the  church,  and 
thus  the  stranger  becomes  known.  All  sorts  of  entertain 
ments  and  amusements  are  furnished  by  the  churches  : 
concerts,  suppers,  socials,  fairs,  literary  exercises  and  debates, 
cantatas,  plays,  excursions,  picnics,  surprise  parties,  cele 
brations.  Every  holiday  is  the  occasion  of  some  special 
entertainment  by  some  club,  society  or  committee  of  the 
church  ;  Thursday  afternoons  and  evenings,  when  the  ser 
vant  girls  are  free,  are  always  sure  to  have  some  sort  of 
entertainment.  Sometimes  these  exercises  are  free,  some 
times  an  admission  fee  is  charged,  sometimes  refreshments 
or  articles  are  on  sale.  The  favorite  entertainment  is  a 
concert  with  solo  singing,  instrumental  music,  reciting,  and 
the  like.  Many  performers  make  a  living  by  appearing  at 
these  entertainments  in  various  cities,  and  often  they  are 
persons  of  training  and  ability,  although  not  always.  So 
frequent  are  these  and  other  church  exercises  that  there  are 
few  Negro  churches  which  are  not  open  four  to  seven  nights 
in  a  week  and  sometimes  one  or  two  afternoons  in  addition. 
Perhaps  the  pleasantest  and  most  interesting  social 
intercourse  takes  place  on  Sunday  ;  the  weaty  week's  work 
is  done,  the  people  have  slept  late  and  had  a  good  break 
fast,  and  sally  forth  to  church  well  dressed  and  complacent. 
The  usual  hour  of  the  morning  service  is  eleven,  but 
people  stream  in  until  after  twelve.  The  sermon  is  usually 
short  and  stirring,  but  in  the  larger  churches  elicits  little 


Sect.  32.]         Function  of  the  Negro  Church.  205 

esponse  other  than  an  "Amen"  or  two.  After  the  sermon 
the  social  features  begin  ;  notices  on  the  various  meetings 
of  the  week  are  read,  people  talk  with  each  other  in  sub 
dued  tones,  take  their  contributions  to  the  altar,  and  lin 
ger  in  the  aisles  and  corridors  long  after  dismission  to  laugh 
and  chat  until  one  or  two  o'clock.  Then  they  go  home 
to  good  dinners.  Sometimes  there  is  some  special  three 
o'clock  service,  but  usually  nothing  save  Sunday  school, 
until  night  Then  comes  the  chief  meeting  of  the  day ; 
probably  ten  thousand  Negroes  gather  every  Sunday  night 
in  their  churches.  There  is  much  music,  much  preaching, 
some  short  addresses;  many  strangers  are  there  to  be 
looked  at ;  many  beaus  bring  out  their  belles,  and  those 
who  do  not  gather  in  crowds  at  the  church  door  and  escort 
the  young  women  home.  The  crowds  are  usually  well 
behaved  and  respectable,  though  rather  more  jolly  than 
comports  with  a  puritan  idea  of  church  services. 

In  this  way  the  social  life  of  the  Negro  centres  in  his 
church — baptism,  wedding  and  burial,  gossip  and  court 
ship,  friendship  and  intrigue — all  lie  in  these  walls.  What 
wonder  that  this  central  club  house  tends  to  become  more 
and  more  luxuriously  furnished,  costly  in  appointment 
and  easy  of  access  ! 

4.  It  must  not  be  inferred  from  all  this  that  the 
Negro  is  hypocritical  or  irreligious.  His  church  is,  to  be 
sure,  a  social  institution  first,  and  religious  afterwards,  but 
nevertheless,  its  religious  activity  is  wide  and  sincere.  In 
direct  moral  teaching  and  in  setting  moral  standards  for 
the  people,  however,  the  church  is  timid,  and  naturally  so, 
for  its  constitution  is  democracy  tempered  by  custom, 
Negro  preachers  are  often  condemned  for  poor  leadership 
and  empty  sermons,  and  it  is  said  that  men  with  so 
much  power  and  influence  could  make  striking  moral  re 
forms.  This  is  but  partially  true.  The  congregation  does 
not  follow  the  moral  precepts  of  the  preacher,  but  rather 
the  preacher  follows  the  standard  of  his  flock,  and  only 


2o6  Organized  Life  of  Negroes.       [Chap.  XII. 

exceptional  men  dare  seek  to  change  this.  And  here  it 
must  be  remembered  that  the  Negro  preacher  is  primarily 
an  executive  officer,  rather  than  a  spiritual  guide.  If  one 
goes  into  any  great  Negro  church  and  hears  the  sermon 
and  views  the  audience,  one  would  say  :  either  the  sermon 
is  far  below  the  calibre  of  the  audience,  or  the  people  are  less 
sensible  than  they  look ;  the  former  explanation  is  usually 
true.  The  preacher  is  sure  to  be  a  man  of  executive  ability, 
a  leader  of  men,  a  shrewd  and  affable  president  of  a  large  and 
intricate  corporation.  In  addition  to  this  he  may  be,  and 
usually  is,  a  striking  elocutionist ;  he  may  also  be  a  man  of 
integrity,  learning,  and  deep  spiritual  earnestness;  but  these 
last  three  are  sometimes  all  lacking,  and  the  last  two  in  many 
cases.  Some  signs  of  advance  are  here  manifest :  no  min 
ister  of  notoriously  immoral  life,  or  even  of  bad  reputation, 
could  hold  a  large  church  in  Philadelphia  without  eventual 
revolt.  Most  of  the  present  pastors  are  decent,  respectable 
men  ;  there  are  perhaps  one  or  two  exceptions  to  this,  but  the 
exceptions  are  doubtful,  rather  than  notorious.  On  the  whole 
then,  the  average  Negro  preacher  in  this  city  is  a  shrewd 
manager,  a  respectable  man,  a  good  talker,  a  pleasant  com 
panion,  but  neither  learned  nor  spiritual,  nor  a  reformer. 

The  moral  standards  are  therefore  set  by  the  congrega 
tions,  and  vary  from  church  to  church  in  some  degree. 
There  has  been  a  slow  working  toward  a  literal  obeying  of 
the  puritan  and  ascetic  standard  of  morals  which  Method 
ism  imposed  on  the  freedmen ;  but  condition  and  tem 
perament  have  modified  these.  The  grosser  forms  of  im 
morality,  together  with  theatre-going  and  dancing,  are 
specifically  denounced ;  nevertheless,  the  precepts  against 
specific  amusements  are  often  violated  by  church  members. 
The  cleft  between  denominations  is  still  wide,  especially 
between  Methodists  and  Baptists.  The  sermons  are  usually 
kept  within  the  safe  ground  of  a  mild  Calvinism,  with 
much  insistence  on  Salvation,  Grace,  Fallen  Humanity 
and  the  like. 


Sect.  33.]  Condition  of  the  Churches.  207 

The  chief  fu  action  of  these  churches  in  morals  is  to  con 
serve  old  standards  and  create  about  them  a  public  opinion 
which  shall  deter  the  offender.  And  in  this  the  Negro 
churches  are  peculiarly  successful,  although  naturally  the 
standards  conserved  are  not  as  high  as  they  should  be. 

5.  The  Negro  churches  were  the  birthplaces  of  Negro 
schools  and  of  all  agencies  which  seek  to  promote  the  in 
telligence  of  the  masses  ;  and  even  to-day  no  agency  serves 
to  disseminate  news  or  information  so  quickly  and  effect 
ively  among  Negroes  as  the  church.     The   lyceum  and 
lecture  here  still  maintain  a  feeble  but  persistent   exist 
ence,  and  church  newspapers    and  books   are  circulated 
widely.     Night  schools  and  kindergartens  are  still  held  in 
connection  with  churches,  and  all  Negro  celebrities,  from  a 
bishop  to  a  poet  like   Dunbar,  are  introduced   to   Negro 
audiences  from  the  pulpits. 

6.  Consequently  all  movements  for  social  betterment  are 
apt  to  centre  in  the  churches.     Beneficial  societies  in  end 
less  number  are  formed  here  ;  secret  societies  keep  in  touch  ; 
co-operative  and  building  associations  have  lately  sprung 
up  ;  the  minister  often  acts  as  an  employment  agent ;  con 
siderable  charitable  and  relief  work  is  done  and  special 
meetings  held  to  aid  special  projects.12     The  race  problem 
in  all  its  phases  is  continually  being  discussed,  and,  indeed, 
from  this  forum   many  a  youth  goes   forth   inspired  to 
work. 

Such  are  some  of  the  functions  of  the  Negro  church,  and 
a  study  of  them  indicates  how  largely  this  organization  has 
come  to  be  an  expression  of  the  organized  life  of  Negroes 
in  a  great  city. 

33.  The  Present  Condition  of  the  Churches. — The 
2441  families  of  the  Seventh  Ward  were  distributed  among 
the  various  denominations,  in  1896,  as  follows : 


«  Cf.  Publications  of  Atlanta  University  No.  3,  "Efforts  of  American 
Negroes  for  Social  Betterment." 


208  Organised  Life  of  Negroes.       [Chap.  XII. 

Families. 

Methodists 842 

Baptists 577 

Episcopalians I5^ 

Presbyterians 74 

Catholic 69 

Shakers 2 

Unconnected  and  unknown 721 

2441 

Probably  half  of  the  "unconnected  and  unknown17 
habitually  attend  church. 

In  the  city  at  large  the  Methodists  have  a  decided  majority, 
followed  by  the  Baptists,  and  further  behind,  the  Episco 
palians.  Starting  with  the  Methodists,  we  find  three 
bodies :  the  African  Methodist  Episcopal,  founded  by  Allen, 
the  A.  M.  E.  Zion,  which  sprung  from  a  secession  of 
Negroes  from  white  churches  in  New  York  in  the  eighteenth 
century ;  and  the  M.  E.  Church,  consisting  of  colored 
churches  belonging  to  the  white  Methodist  Church,  like 
Zoar. 

The  A.  M.  E.  Church  is  the  largest  body  and  had,  in 
1897,  fourteen  churches  and  missions  in  the  city,  with  a 
total  membership  of  3210,  and  thirteen  church  edifices, 
seating  6117  persons.  These  churches  collected  during  the 
year,  $27,074.13.  Their  property  is  valued  at  $202,229 
on  which  there  is  a  mortgage  indebtedness  of  $30,000 
to  $50,000.  Detailed  statistics  are  given  in  the  table 
on  the  next  page. 

These  churches  are  pretty  well  organized,  and  are  con 
ducted  with  vim  and  enthusiasm.  This  arises  largely 
from  their  system.  Their  bishops  have  been  in  some  in 
stances  men  of  piety  and  ability  like  the  late  Daniel  A. 
Payne.  In  other  cases  they  have  fallen  far  below  this 
standard;  but  they  have  always  been  men  of  great  influ 
ence,  and  had  a  genius  for  leadership — else  they  would  not 
have  been  bishops.  They  have  large  powers  of  appoint 
ment  and  removal  in  the  case  of  pastors,  and  thus  each 


Sect.  33.] 


Condition  of  the  Churches. 


209 


w 

1 

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Church, 


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210  Organized  Life  of  Negroes.       [Chap.  XII. 

pastor,  working  under  the  eye  of  an  inspiring  chief, 
strains  every  nerve  to  make  his  church  a  successful 
organization.  The  bishop  is  aided  by  several  presiding 
elders,  who  are  traveling  inspectors  and  preachers,  and 
give  advice  as  to  appointments.  This  system  results  in 
great  unity  and  power ;  the  purely  spiritual  aims  of  the 
church,  to  be  sure,  suffer  somewhat,  but  after  all  this  pecu 
liar  organism  is  more  than  a  church,  it  is  a  government  of 
men. 

The  headquarters  of  the  A.  M.  E.  Church  are  in  Philadel 
phia.  Their  publishing  house,  at  Seventh  and  Pine,  pub 
lishes  a  weekly  paper  and  a  quarterly  review,  besides  some 
books,  such  as  hymnals,  church  disciplines,  short  treatises, 
leaflets  and  the  like.  The  receipts  of  this  establishment 
in  1897  were  $16,058.26,  and  its  expenditures  $14,119.15. 
Its  total  outfit  and  property  is  valued  at  $45,513.64,  with 
an  indebtedness  of  $14,513.64. 

An  episcopal  residence  for  the  bishop  of  the  district  has 
recently  been  purchased  on  Belmont  avenue.  The  Phila 
delphia  Conference  disbursed  from  the  general  church 
funds  in  1897,  $985  to  superannuated  ministers,  and  $375 
to  widows  of  ministers.  Two  or  three  women  missionaries 
visited  the  sick  during  the  year  and  some  committees  of 
the  Ladies'  Mission  Society  worked  to  secure  orphans' 
homes.13  Thus  throughout  the  work  of  this  church  there 


18  An  account  of  the  present  state  of  the  A.  M.  E.  Church  from  its  own 
lips  is  interesting,  in  spite  of  its  somewhat  turgid  rhetoric.  The  follow 
ing  is  taken  from  the  minutes  of  Philadelphia  Conference,  1897: 

REPORT  ON  STATE  OF  THE  CHURCH. 

"  To  the  Bishop  and  Conference:  We  your  Committee  on  State  of  the 

Church  beg  leave  to  submit  the  following: 

'*  Every  truly  devoted  African  Methodist  is  intensely  interested  in  the 
condition  of  the  church  that  was  handed  down  to  us  as  a  precious  heir 
loom  from  the  hands  of  a  God-fearing,  self-sacrificing  ancestry;  the 
church  that  Allen  planted  in  Philadelphia,  a  little  over  a  century  ago  has 
enjoyed  a  marvelous  development.  Its  grand  march  through  the  pro 
cession  of  a  hundred  years  has  been  characterized  by  a  series  of  brilliant 


Sect  33-]  Condition  of  the  Churches.  311 

is  much  evidence  of  enthusiasm  and  persistent  progress.1* 
There  are  three  churches  in  the  city  representing  the 
A.  M.  E.  Zion  connection.     They  are : 

Wesley Fifteenth  and  Lombard  Sts. 

Mount  Zion Fifty-fifth  above  Market  St 

Union Ninth  St.  and  Girard  Ave. 


successes,  completely  refuting  the  foul  calumnies  cast  against  it  and 
overcoming  every  obstacle  that  endeavored  to  impede  its  onward  march, 
giving  the  strongest  evidence  that  God  was  in  the  midst  of  her;  she 
should  not  be  moved. 

"  From  the  humble  beginnings  in  the  little  blacksmith  shop,  at  Sixth 
and  Lombard  streets,  Philadelphia,  the  Connection  has  grown  until  we 
have  now  fifty-five  annual  conferences,  beside  mission  fields,  with  over 
four  thousand  churches,  the  same  number  of  itinerant  preachers,  near  six 
hundred  thousand  communicants,  one  and  a  half  million  adherents,  with 
sir  regularly  organized  and  well-manned  departments,  each  doing  a 
magnificent  work  along  special  lines,  the  whole  under  the  immediate 
supervision  of  eleven  bishops,  each  with  a  marked  individuality  and  all 
laboring  together  for  the  further  development  and  perpetuity  of  the 
church.  In  this  the  Mother  Conference  of  the  Connection,  we  have 
every  reason  to  be  grateful  to  Almighty  God  for  the  signal  blessings  He 
has  so  graciously  poured  out  upon  us.  The  spiritual  benedictions  have 
been  many.  In  response  to  earnest  effort  and  faithful  prayers  by  both 
pastors  and  congregations,  nearly  two  thousand  persons  have  professed 
faith  in  Christ,  during  this  conference  year.  Five  thousand  dollars  have 
been  given  by  the  membership  and  friends  of  the  Connectional  interests 
to  carry  on  the  machinery  of  the  church,  besides  liberal  contributions  for 
the  cause  of  missions,  education,  the  Sunday-school  Union  and  Church 
^Extension  Departments,  and  beside  all  this,  the  presiding  elder  and 
pastors  have  been  made  to  feel  that  the  people  are  perfectly  willing  to  do 
what  they  can  to  maintain  the  preaching  of  the  word,  that  tends  to 
elevate  mankind  and  glorify  God. 

*  *  The  local  interests  have  not  been  neglected;  new  churches  have  been 
built,  parsonages  erected,  church  mortgages  have  been  reduced,  auxiliary 
societies  to  give  everybody  in  the  church  a  chance  to  work  for  God  and 
humanity,  have  been  more  extensively  organized  than  ever  before. 

"The  danger  signal  that  we  see  here  and  there  cropping  out,  which 
is  calculated  to  bring  discredit  upon  the  Church  of  Christ,  is  the  unholy 
ambition  for  place  and  power.  The  means  ofttimes  used  to  bring  about 
the  desired  results,  cause  the  blush  of  shame  to  tinge  the  brow  of 

14  Cf.,  e.  ,£*.,  the  account  of  the  founding  of  new  missions  in  the  minutes 
of  the  Philadelphia  Conference,  1896. 


212  Organized  Life  of  Negroes.       [Chap.  XII. 

No  detailed  statistics  of  these  churches  are  available ; 
the  last  two  are  small ,  the  first  is  one  of  the  largest  and 

Christian  manhood.    God  always  has  and  always  will  select  those  He 
designs  to  use  as  the  leaders  of  his  Church. 

"  Political  methods  that  are  in  too  many  instances  resorted  to,  are  con 
trary  to  the  teaching  and  spirit  of  the  Gospel  of  Christ.  Fitness  and 
sobriety  will  always  be  found  in  the  lead. 

"  Through  mistaken  sympathy  we  find  that  several  incompetent  men 
have  found  their  way  into  the  ministerial  ranks;  men  who  can  neither 
manage  the  financial  nor  spiritual  interests  of  any  church  or  bring  success 
along  any  line,  who  are  continuously  on  the  wing  from  one  conference  to 
the  other.  The  time  has  come  when  the  strictest  scrutiny  must  be  exer 
cised  as  to  purpose  and  fitness  of  candidates,  and  if  admitted  and  found 
to  be  continuous  failures,  Christian  charity  demands  that  they  be  given 
an  opportunity  to  seek  a  calling  where  they  can  make  more  success  than 
in  the  ministry.  These  danger  signals  that  flash  up  now  and  then  must 
be  observed  and  everything  contrary  to  the  teachings  of  God's  word  and 
the  spirit  of  the  discipline  weeded  out.  The  church  owes  a  debt  of 
gratitude  to  the  fathers  who  have  always  remained  loyal  and  true;  who 
labored  persistently  and  well  for  the  upbuilding  of  the  connection,  that 
they  can  never  repay. 

"  Particular  care  should  be  taken  that  no  honorable  aged  minister  of 
our  great  Church  should  be  allowed  to  suffer  for  the  necessaries  of  life. 
We  especiallv  commend  to  the  consideration  of  every  minister  the 
Ministers'  Aid  Association,  which  is  now  almost  ready  to  be  organized, 
the  object  of  which  is  to  help  assuage  the  grief  and  dry  the  tears  of  those 
who  have  been  left  widowed  and  fatherless. 

"  Our  Publication  Department  is  making  heroic  efforts  for  the  larger 
circulation  of  our  denominational  papers  and  literature  generally.  These 
efforts  ought  to  be,  and  must  needs  be  heartily  seconded  by  the  Church. 
Lord  Bacon  says:  l  Talking  makes  a  ready  man,  writing  an  exact  man, 
but  reading  makes  a  full  man.'  We  want  our  people  at  large  to  be  brim 
ful  of  information  relative  to  the  growth  of  the  church,  the  progress  of 
the  race,  the  upbuilding  of  humanity  and  the  glory  of  God. 

41  Our  missionary  work  must  not  be  allowed  to  retrograde.  The  banner 
that  Allen  raised  must  not  be  allowed  to  trail,  but  must  go  forward  until 
the  swarthy  sons  of  Ham  everywhere  shall  gaze  with  a  longing  and 
loving  look  upon  the  escutcheon  that  has  emblazoned  on  it,  as  its  motto: 
'The  Fatherhood  of  God  and  the  Brotherhood  of  man,'  and  the 
glorious  truth  flashing  over  the  whole  world  that  Jesus  Christ  died  to 
redeem  the  universal  family  of  mankind.  Disasters  and  misfortunes 
may  come  to  us,  but  strong  men  never  quail  before  adversities.  The 
clouds  of  to-day  may  be  succeeded  by  the  sunshine  of  to-morrow. " 


Sect.  33.] 


Condition  of  the  Churches. 


213 


most  popular  in  the  city  ;  the  pastor  receives  $1500  a  year 
and  the  total  income  of  the  church  is  between  $4000  and 
$5000.  It  does  considerable  charitable  work  among  its 
aged  members,  and  supports  a  large  sick  and  death  benefit 
society.  Its  property  is  worth  at  least  $25,000. 

Two  other  Methodist  churches  of  different  denomina 
tions  are :  Grace  U.  A.  M.  E-,  Lombard  street,  above  Fif 
teenth ;  St.  Matthew  Methodist  Protestant,  Fifty-eighth 
and  Vine  streets.  Both  these  churches  are  small,  although 
the  first  has  a  valuable  piece  of  property. 

The  Methodist  Episcopal  Church  has  six  organizations 
in  the  city  among  the  Negroes ;  they  own  church  property 
valued  at  $53,700,  have  a  total  membership  of  1202,  and  an 
income  of  $16,394  in  1897.  Of  this  total  income,  $1235, 
or  T%  Per  cent>  was  given  for  benevolent  enterprises. 
These  churches  are  quiet  and  well  conducted,  and  although 
not  among  the  most  popular  churches,  have  nevertheless 
a  membership  of  old  and  respected  citizens. 

COLORED  M.  B.  CHURCHES  IN  PHILADELPHIA,  1897. 


s 

^ 

fl 

1    li. 

"S 

"S 

s 

Church. 

Members. 

*0 
<j 

"v  £ 

tl 

rt  d 

3 

Contributions  t 
Presiding  Elc 
and  Bishops. 

Value  of  Churc 

Value  of  Parso 
age, 

Building  and  ] 
prove  ments  c 
Ing  Year, 

Paid  on  Indebt 
ness. 

Present  Indebt 
ness. 

Current  $xpen 

1  Benevolent  Col 
lections. 

Bainbridge  Street 
Frankford  .      ,  . 

354 

72 

^1312 
720 

$151 
35 

$20,000 

1190 
15 

$601 

146 

$4,433 
130 

$1274 
155 

*% 

828 

72 

4,000 

400 

I,OOO 

270 

177 

Haven    .   .       ... 

72 

AY* 

39 

3>4°° 

24 

3,836 

377 

25 

Waterloo  Street   . 
Zoar      

221 

1270 

27 

220 

800 
20,000 

$4000" 

450 

3522 

50 
2171 

5,80? 

32 

257 

£ 

Total  

1202 

^4791 

544 

$49*700 

$4000 

$4201 

$33« 

$15,289 

$2255 

$1235 

There  were  in  1896  seventeen  Baptist  churches  in  Phila 
delphia,  holding  property  valued  at  more  than  $300,000, 
having  six  thousand  members,  and  an  annual  income  of, 
probably,  $30,000  to  $35,000.  One  of  the  largest  churches 
has  in  the  last  five  years  raised  between  $17,000  and 
$18,000. 


214 


Organized  Life  of  Negroes.       [Chap.  XII. 


BAPTIST  CHURCHES  OF  PHILADELPHIA,  1896. 


Church. 

Member 
ship. 

Value  of 
Property. 

Expended 
in 
Missions, 
.Local  and 
Foreign. 

Annual 
Income. 

AIS 

jfoo  ooo 

$7.OO 

Cherry  Street    .    .           ... 

*fOO 

800 

50,000 

I  ,O2O 

50,000 

58.10 

St  Paul                      »   .    . 

422 

25,000 

I.OO 

l8q 

I2,OOO 

3.36 

76 

1,000 

i.oo 

Bettisaida.                  •       .       .   • 

78 

*to 

305 

24,800 

Grace  

57 

2,OOO 

5.50 

Shiloh.           

1,000 

5O,OOO 

$3,600 

Holy  Trinity  

287 

IO,OOO 

3.00 

Second  Nicetown              .   .   . 

164 

2,OOO 

Q.7^ 

Zion     .   .           .   .       

700 

4O,OOO 

Providence        .   . 

Tabernacle     .   .                      ,    . 

Total    

5,583 

$296,800 

.    .    . 

The  Baptists  are  strong  in  Philadelphia,  and  own  many 
large  and  attractive  churches,  such  as,  for  instance,  the 
Union  Baptist  Church,  on  Twelfth  street ;  Zion  Baptist,  in 
the  northern  part  of  the  city  ;  Monumental,  in  West  Phila 
delphia,  and  the  staid  and  respectable  Cherry  Street  Church. 
These  churches  as  a  rule  have  large  membership.  They 
are>  however,  quite  different  in  spirit  and  methods  from  the 
Methodists ;  they  lack  organization,  and  are  not  so  well 
managed  as  business  institutions.  Consequently  statistics 
of  their  work  are  very  hard  to  obtain,  and  indeed  in  many 
cases  do  not  even  exist  for  individual  churches.  On  the 
other  hand,  the  Baptists  are  peculiarly  clannish  and  loyal 
to  their  organization,  keep  their  pastors  a  long  time,  and 
thus  each  church  gains  an  individuality  not  noticed  in 
Methodist  churches.  If  the  pastor  is  a  strong,  upright 
character,  his  influence  for  good  is  marked.  At  the  same 
time,  the  Baptists  have  in  their  ranks  a  larger  percentage 
of  illiteracy  than  probably  any  other  church,  and  it  is 
often  possible  for  an  inferior  man  to  hold  a  large  church 


Sect.  33.] 


Condition  of  the  Churches. 


for  years  and  allow  it  to  stagnate  and  retrograde.  The 
Baptist  policy  is  extreme  democracy  applied  to  church 
affairs,  and  no  wonder  that  this  often  results  in  a  per 
nicious  dictatorship.  While  many  of  the  Baptist  pastors 
of  Philadelphia  are  men  of  ability  and  education,  the 
general  average  is  below  that  of  the  other  churches — a 
fact  due  principally  to  the  ease  with  which  one  can  enter 
the  Baptist  ministry.35  These  churches  support  a  small 
publishing  house  in  the  city,  which  issues  a  weekly  paper* 
They  do  some  charitable  work,  but  not  much.16 
There  are  three  Presbyterian  churches  in  the  city : 


Name. 

Members. 

Value  of 
Property. 

Annual 
Income. 

Berean  ...           .... 

08 

$75.OOO 

J5l,I^5 

Parsonage. 

Central         

41O 

5O,OOO 

1,  800 

Parsonage. 

First  African    

105 

25,000 

1,533 

Central  Church  is  the  oldest  of  these  churches  and  has 
an  interesting  history.  It  represents  a  withdrawal  from 
the  First  African  Presbyterian  Church  in  1844.  The  con 
gregation  first  worshiped  at  Eighth  and  Carpenter  streets. 


15  Baptists  themselves  recognize  this.    One  of  the  speakers  in  a  recent 
association  meeting,  as  reported  by  the  press,   "  deprecated  the  spirit 
shown  by  some  churches  in  spreading  their  differences  to  their  detriment 
as  church  members,  and  in  the  eyes  of  their  white  brethren;  and  he  recom 
mended  that  unworthy  brethren  from  other  States,  who  sought  an  asylum 
of  rest  here,  be  not  admitted  to  local  pulpits  except  in  cases  where  the 
ministers  so  applying  are  personally  known  or  vouched  for  by  a  resident 
pastor.     The  custom  of  recognizing  as  preachers  men  incapable  of  doing 
good  work  in  the  pulpit,  who  were  ordained  in  the  South  after  they  had 
failed  in  the  North,  was  also  condemned,  and  the  President  declared  that 
the  times  demand  a  ministry  that  is  able  to  preach.     The  practice  of 
licensing  incapable  brethren  for  the  ministry,  simply  to  please  them,  was 
also  looked  upon  with  disfavor,  and  it  was  recommended  that  applicants 
for  ordination  be  required  to  show  at  least  ability  to  read  intelligently 
the  Word  of  God  or  a  hymn.' ' 

16  One  movement  deserves  notice — the  Woman's  Auxiliary  Society. 
It  consists  of  five  circles,  representing  a  like  number  of  colored  Baptist 
churches  in  this  city,   viz.,  the  Cherry  Street,   Holy  Trinity,   Union, 
Nicetown  and  Germantown,  and  does  general  missionary  work. 


216  Organised  Life  of  Negroes.       [Chap.  XII. 

and  in  1845  purchased  a  lot  at  Ninth  and  Lombard, 
where  they  still  meet  in  a  quiet  and  respectable  house  of 
worship.  Their  430  members  include  some  of  the  oldest 
and  most  respectable  Negro  families  of  the  city.  Probably 
if  the  white  Presbyterians  had  given  more  encouragement 
to  Negroes,  this  denomination  would  have  absorbed  the 
best  elements  of  the  colored  population  ;  they  seem,  how 
ever,  to  have  shown  some  desire  to  be  rid  of  the  blacks,  or 
at  least  not  to  increase  their  Negro  membership  in  Phila 
delphia  to  any  great  extent.  Central  Church  is  more 
nearly  a  simple  religious  organization  than  most  churches  ; 
it  listens  to  able  sermons,  but  does  little  outside  its  own 
doors.17 

Berean  Church  is  the  work  of  one  man  and  is  an  insti 
tutional  church.  It  was  formerly  a  mission  of  Central 
Church  and  now  owns  a  fine  piece  of  property  bought  by 
donations  contributed  by  whites  and  Negroes,  but  chiefly  by 
the  former.  The  conception  of  the  work  and  its  carrying 
out,  however,  is  due  to  Negroes.  This  church  conducts  a 
successful  Building  and  Loan  Association,  a  kindergarten, 


17 See,  Jones'  "  Fifty  Years  In  Central  Street  Church,"  etc.  The  system 
and  order  in  this  church  is  remarkable.  Bach  year  a  careful  printed 
report  of  receipts  and  expenditures  is  made.  The  following  is  an  abstract 
of  the  report  for  1891 : 

Receipts. 

Finance  Committee  .   , $977, 39 

Pew  Rents 709,75 

Legacy 760.77 

Other  Receipts 329,54 

-.    .      ,v  —  1^777.45 

Expenditures. 

Pastor's  Salary $1000.00 

Other  Salaries .......      476.00 

Repayment  of  Loan 409.00 

Interest  on  Mortgage 60 . 96 

Donations  to  General  Church 31-57 

General  Bxpenses,  etc. 759. 23 

12736,76 


Balance $    40.69 


Sect.  33.]  Condition  of  the  Churches.  217 

a  medical  dispensary  and  a  seaside  home,  beside  the  num 
erous  church  societies.  Probably  no  church  in  the  city, 
except  the  Episcopal  Church  of  the  Crucifixion,  is  doing 
so  much  for  the  social  betterment  of  the  Negro.18  The 
First  African  is  the  oldest  colored  church  of  this  denomina 
tion  in  the  city. 

The  Episcopal  Church  has,  for  Negro  congregations,  two 
independent  churches,  two  churches  dependent  on  white 
parishes,  and  four  missions  and  Sunday  schools.  Statistics 
of  three  of  these  are  given  in  the  table  on  page  218. 

The  Episcopal  churches  receive  more  outside  help  than 
others  and  also  do  more  general  mission  and  rescue  work 
They  hold  $150,000  worth  of  property,  have  900-1000 
members  and  an  annual  income  of  $7000  to  $8000.  They 
represent  all  grades  of  the  colored  population.  The 
oldest  of  the  churches  is  St.  Thomas?  Next  comes  the 
Church  of  the  Crucifixion,  over  fifty  years  old  and  perhaps 
the  most  effective  church  organization  in  the  city  for 
benevolent  and  rescue  work.  It  has  been  built  up  virtually 
by  one  Negro,  a  man  of  sincerity  and  culture,  and  of 
peculiar  energy.  This  church  carries  on  regular  church, 
work  at  Bainbridge  and  Eighth  and  at  two  branch  mis 
sions  ;  it  helps  in  the  Fresh  Air  Fund,  has  an  ice  mission  >  a 
vacation  school  of  thirty-five  children,  and  a  parish  visitor. 
It  makes  an  especial  feature  of  good  music  with  its  vested 
choir.  One  or  two  courses  of  University  Extension  lectures 
are  held  here  each  year,  and  there  is  a  large  beneficial  and 
insurance  society  in  active  operation,  and  a  Home  for  the 
Homeless  on  Lombard  street.  This  church  especially 
reaches  after  a  class  of  neglected  poor  whom  the  other 
colored  churches  shun  or  forget  and  for  whom  there  is 
little  fellowship  in  white  churches,  The  rector  says  of  this 
work : 


"For  history  and  detailed   account   of  this   work    see   Anderson's 
"  Presbyterianism  and  the  Negro," 


2l8 


Organized  Life  of  Negroes.       [Chap.  XII. 


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Sect.  33.]  Condition  of  the  Churches. 

"  As  I  look  back  over  nearly  twenty  years  of  labor  in  one 
parish,  I  see  a  great  deal  to  be  devoutly  thankful  for. 
Here  are  people  struggling  from  the  beginning  of  one 
year  to  another,  without  ever  having  what  can  be  called 
the  necessaries  of  life.  God  alone  knows  what  a  real 
struggle  life  is  to  them.  Many  of  them  must  always  be 
'moving  on,'  because  they  cannot  pay  the  rent  or  meet 
other  obligations. 

"I  have  just  visited  a  family  of  four,  mother  and  three 
children.  The  mother  is  too  sick  to  work.  The  eldest 
girl  will  work  when  she  can  find  something  to  do.  But 
the  rent  is  due,  and  there  is  not  a  cent  in  the  house.  This 
is  but  a  sample.  How  can  such  people  support  a  church 
of  their  own?  To  many  such,  religion  often  becomes 
doubly  comforting.  They  seize  eagerly  on  the  promises 
of  a  life  where  these  earthly  distresses  will  be  forever 
absent. 

"  If  the  other  half  only  knew  how  this  half  is  living — how 
hard  and  dreary,  and  often  hopeless,  life  is — the  members 
of  the  more  favored  half  would  gladly  help  to  do  all  they 
could  to  have  the  gospel  freely  preached  to  those  whose 
lives  are  so  devoid  of  earthly  comforts. 

"Twenty  or  thirty  thousand  dollars  (and  that  is  not 
much),  safely  invested,  would  enable  the  parish  to  do  a 
work  that  ought  to  be  done  and  yet  is  not  being  done  at 
present  The  poor  could  then  have  the  gospel  preached  to 
them  in  a  way  that  it  is  not  now  being  preached." 

The  Catholic  church  has  in  the  last  decade  made  great 
progress  in  its  work  among  Negroes  and  is  determined  to 
do  much  in  the  future.  Its  chief  hold  upon  the  colored 
people  is  its  comparative  lack  of  discrimination.  There  is 
one  Catholic  church  in  the  city  designed  especially  for 
Negro  work — St.  Peter  Clavers  at  Twelfth  and  lyombard — 
formerly  a  Presbyterian  church;  recently  a  parish  house 
has  been  added.  The  priest  in  charge  estimates  that  400 
or  500  Negroes  regularly  attend  Catholic  churches  in  various 


220  Organized  Life  of  Negroes.        [Chap.  XII. 

parts  of  the  city.  The  Mary  Drexel  Home  for  Colored 
Orphans  is  a  Catholic  institution  near  the  city  which  is 
doing  much  work.  The  Catholic  church  can  do  more  than 
any  other  agency  in  humanizing  the  intense  prejudice  of 
many  of  the  working  class  against  the  Negro,  and  signs  of 
this  influence  are  manifest  in  some  quarters. 

We  have  thus  somewhat  in  detail  reviewed  the  work  of 
the  chief  churches.  There  are  beside  these  continually 
springing  tip  and  dying  a  host  of  little  noisy  missions  which 
represent  the  older  and  more  demonstrative  worship.  A 
description  of  one  applies  to  nearly  all;  take  for  instance 
one  in  the  slums  of  the  Fifth  Ward: 

"  The  tablet  in  the  gable  of  this  little  church  bears  the 
date  1837.  For  sixty  years  it  has  stood  and  done  its  work 
in  the  narrow  lane.  What  its  history  has  been  all  this 
time  it  is  difficult  to  find  out,  for  no  records  are  on  hand, 
and  no  one  is  here  to  tell  the  tale. 

"  The  few  last  months  of  the  old  order  was  something  like 
this:  It  was  in  the  hands  of  a  Negro  congregation. 
Several  visits  were  paid  to  the  church,  and  generally  a 
dozen  people  were  found  there.  After  a  discourse  by  a 
very  illiterate  preacher,  hymns  were  sung,  having  many 
repetitions  of  senseless  sentiment  and  exciting  cadences. 
It  took  about  an  hour  to  work  up  the  congregation  to  a 
fervor  aimed  at  Whe^a  this  was  reached  a  remarkable 
scene  presented  itself.  The  whole  congregation  pressed 
forward  to  an  open  space  before  the  pulpit,  and  formed  a 
ring.  The  most  excitable  of  their  number  entered  the 
ring,  and  with  clapping  of  hands  and  contortions  led  the 
devotions.  Those  forming  the  ring  joined  in  the  clapping 
of  hands  and  wild  and  loud  singing,  frequently  springing1 
into  the  air,  and  shouting  loudly.  As  the  devotions  pro 
ceeded,  most  of  the  worshipers  took  off  their  coats  and 
vests  and  hung  them  on  pegs  on  the  wall.  This  continued 
for  hours,  until  all  were  completely  exhausted,  and  some 
had  fainted  and  been  stowed  away  on  benches  or  the  pulpit 


Sect.  34.]    Societies  and  Cooperative  Business.  221 

platform.  This  was  the  order  of  things  at  the  close  of  sixty 
years'  history.  *  *  *  When  this  congregation  vacated 
the  church,  they  did  so  stealthily,  under  cover  of  darkness, 
removed  furniture  not  their  own,  including  the  pulpit,  and 
left  bills  unpaid."  19 

There  are  dozens  of  such  little  missions  in  various  parts 
of  Philadelphia,  led  by  wandering  preachers.  They  are 
survivals  of  the  methods  of  worship  in  Africa  and  the  West 
Indies.  In  some  of  the  larger  churches  noise  and  excite 
ment  attend  the  services,  especially  at  the  time  of  revival 
or  in  prayer  meetings.  For  the  most  part,  however,  these 
customs  are  dying  away. 

To  recapitulate,  we  have  in  Philadelphia  fifty-five  Negro 
churches  with  12,845  members  owning  $ 907,729  worth  of 
property  with  an  annual  income  of  at  least  $94,968.  And 
these  represent  the  organized  efforts  of  the  race  better  than 
any  other  organizations.  Second  to  them  however  come 
the  secret  and  benevolent  societies,  which  we  now  consider. 

34.  Secret  and  Beneficial  Societies,  and  Co-operative 
Business. — The  art  of  organization  is  the  one  hardest  for 
the  freedman  to  learn,  and  the  Negro  shows  his  greatest 
deficiency  here ;  whatever  success  he  has  had  has  been 
shown  most  conspicuously  in  his  church  organizations, 
where  the  religious  bond  greatly  facilitated  union,  In 
other  organizations  where  the  bond  was  weaker  his  success 
has  been  less.  From  early  times  the  precarious  economic 
condition  of  the  free  Negroes  led  to  many  mutual  aid 
organizations.  They  were  very  simple  in  form :  an  initia 
tion  fee  of  small  amount  was  required,  and  small  regular 
payments  ;  in  case  of  sickness,  a  weekly  stipend  was  paid, 
and  in  case  of  death  the  members  were  assessed  to  pay  for 
the  funeral  and  help  the  widow.  Confined  to  a  few  mem 
bers,  all  personally  known  to  each  other,  such  societies 


**Rev.   Charles  Daniel,  in  the  Naz&rene.     The  writer  hardly  does 
justice  to  the  weird  witchery  of  those  hymns  sung  thus  rudely. 


222  Organized  Life  of  Negroes.       [Chap.  XII. 

were  successful  from  the  beginning.  We  hear  of  them  in 
the  eighteenth  century,  and  by  1838  there  were  100  such 
small  groups,  with  7448  members,  in  the  city.  They  paid 
in  $18,851,  gave  $14,172  in  benefits,  and  had  $10,023  on 
hand.  Ten  years  later  about  eight  thousand  members 
belonged  to  106  such  societies.  Seventy-six  of  these  had 
a  total  membership  of  5187.  They  contributed  usually  25 
cents  to  37^  cents  a  month;  the  sick  received  $1.50  to 
$3,00  a  week,  and  death  benefits  of  $10.00  to  $20.00  were 
allowed.  The  income  of  these  seventy-six  societies  was 
$16,814.23  ;  681  families  were  assisted.20 

These  societies  have  since  been  superceded  to  some 
extent  by  other  organizations ;  they  are  still  so  numerous, 
however,  that  it  is  impractical  to  catalogue  all  of  them  ; 
there  are  probably  several  hundred  of  various  kinds  in 
the  city. 

To  these  were  early  added  the  secret  societies,  which 
naturally  had  great  attraction  for  Negroes.  A  Boston 
lodge  of  black  Masons  received  a  charter  direct  from  Eng 
land,  and  independent  orders  of  Odd  Fellows,  Knights  of 
Pythias,  etc.,  grew  up.  During  the  time  that  Negroes 
were  shut  out  of  the  public  libraries  there  were  many 
literary  associations  with  libraries.  These  have  now  dis 
appeared.  Outside  the  churches  the  most  important 
organizations  among  Negroes  to-day  are :  Secret  societies, 
beneficial  societies,  insurance  societies,  cemeteries,  building 
and  loan  associations,  labor  unions,  homes  of  various  sorts 
and  political  clubs.  The  most  powerful  and  flourishing 
secret  order  is  that  of  the  Odd  Fellows,  which  has  two 
hundred  thousand  members  among  American  Negroes.  In 
Philadelphia  there  are  19  lodges  with  a  total  membership 
of  i  r  88,  and  $46,000  worth  of  property.  Detailed  statis 
tics  are  in  the  next  table : 21 


20  Cf.  report  of  inquiries  in  above  years. 

21  From  Report  of  Fourth  Annual  Meeting  of  the  District  Grand  Lodge 
of  Pennsylvania,  G.  U.  of  O.  F.,  1896. 


Sect.  34.]    Societies  and  Co-operative  Business.  223 


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224  Organized  Life  of  Negroes.       [Chap.  XII. 

This  order  owns  two  halls  in  the  city  worth  perhaps 
$40,000.  One  is  occupied  by  the  officers  of  the  Grand 
Lodge,  which  employs  several  salaried  officials  and  clerks. 
The  order  conducts  a  newspaper  called  the  Odd  Fellows* 
Journal. 

There  are  19  lodges  of  Masons  in  the  city,  6  chapters, 
5  commanderies,  3  of  the  Scottish  Rite,  and  I  drill  corp. 
The  Masons  are  not  so  well  organized  and  conducted  as 
the  Odd  Fellows,  and  detailed  statistics  of  their  lodges  are 
not  available.  They  own  two  halls  worth  at  least  $50,000, 
and  probably  distribute  not  less  than  $3000  to  $4000  annu 
ally  in  benefits. 

Beside  these  chief  secret  orders  there  are  numerous 
others,  such  as  the  American  Protestant  Association,  which 
has  many  members,  the  Knights  of  Pythias,  the  Galilean 
Fishermen,  the  various  female  orders  attached  to  these, 
and  a  number  of  others.  It  is  almost  impossible  to  get 
accurate  statistics  of  all  these  orders,  and  any  estimate  of 
their  economic  activity  is  liable  to  considerable  error. 
However,  from  general  observation  and  the  available 
figures,  it  seems  fairly  certain  that  at  least  four  thousand 
Negroes  belong  to  secret  orders,  and  that  these  orders 
annually  collect  at  least  $25,000,  part  of  which  is  paid  out 
in  sick  and  death  benefits,  and  part  invested.  The  real 
estate,  personal  property  and  funds  of  these  orders  amount 
to  no  less  than  $125,000. 

The  function  of  the  secret  society  is  partly  social  inter 
course  and  partly  insurance.  They  furnish  pastime  from 
the  monotony  of  work,  a  field  for  ambition  and  intrigue, 
a  chance  for  parade,  and  insurance  against  misfortune. 
Next  to  the  church  they  are  the  most  popular  organiza 
tions  among  Negroes. 

Of  the  beneficial  societies  we  have  already  spoken  in 
general.  A  detailed  account  of  a  few  of  the  larger  and 
more  typical  organizations  will  now  suffice.  The  Quaker 
City  Association  is  a  sick  and  death  benefit  society,  seven 


Sect  34.]    Societies  and  Co-operative  Business.  225 

years  old,  which  confines  its  membership  to  native  Phila- 
delphians.  It  has  280  members  and  distributes  $1400  to 
^1500  annually.  The  Sons  and  Daughters  of  Delaware 
is  over  fifty  years  old.  It  has  106  members,  and  owns 
$3000  worth  of  real  estate.  The  Fraternal  Association 
was  founded  in  1861 ;  it  has  86  members,  and  distributes 
about  $300  a  year.  It  "was  formed  for  the  purpose  of 
relieving  the  wants  and  distresses  of  each  other  in  the 
time  of  affliction  and  death,  and  for  the  furtherance  of 
such  benevolent  views  and  objects  as  would  tend  to  estab 
lish  and  maintain  a  permanent  and  friendly  intercourse 
among  them  in  their  social  relations  in  life."  The  Sons 
of  St.  Thomas  was  founded  in  1823  an^  was  originally 
confined  to  members  of  St.  Thomas'  Church.  It  was 
formerly  a  large  organization,  but  now  has  80  members, 
and  paid  out  in  1896,  $416  in  relief.  It  has  $1500  invested 
in  government  bonds.  In  addition  to  these  there  is  the 
Old  Men's  Association,  the  Female  Cox  Association,  the 
Sons  and  Daughters  of  Moses,  and  a  large  number  of  other 
small  societies. 

There  is  arising  also  a  considerable  number  of  insur 
ance  societies,  differing  from  the  beneficial  in  being  con 
ducted  by  directors.  The  best  of  these  are  the  Crucifixion 
connected  with  the  Church  of  the  Crucifixion,  and  the 
Avery,  connected  with  Wesley  A.  M.  E.  Z.  Church ;  both 
have  a  large  membership  and  are  well  conducted.  Nearly 
every  church  is  beginning  to  organize  one  or  more  such 
societies,  some  of  which  in  times  past  have  met  disaster 
by  bad  management.  The  True  Reformers  of  Virginia,  the 
most  remarkable  Negro  beneficial  organization  yet  started, 
has  several  branches  here.  Beside  these  there  are  number 
less  minor  societies,  as  the  Alpha  Relief,  Knights  and 
Ladies  of  St.  Paul,  the  National  Co-operative  Society,  Col 
ored  Women's  Protective  Association,  Ix>yal  Beneficial,  etc. 
Some  of  these  are  honest  efforts  and  some  are  swindling- 
imitations  of  the  pernicious  white  petty  insurance  societies. 


226  Organized  Life  of  Negroes.       [Chap.  XII. 

There  are  three  building  and  loan  associations  conducted 
by  Negroes.  Some  of  the  directors  in  one  are  white,  all 
the  others  are  colored.  The  oldest  association  is  the  Cen 
tury,  established  October  26,  1886.  Its  board  of  directors 
is  composed  of  teachers,  upholsterers,  clerks,  restaurant 
keepers  and  undertakers,  and  it  has  had  marked  success. 
Its  income  for  1897  was  about  $7000.  It  has  $25,000  in 
loans  outstanding. 

The  Berean  Building  and  Loan  Association  was  estab 
lished  in  1888  in  connection  with  Berean  Presbyterian 
Church ;  13  of  the  19  officers  and  directors  are  colored. 
Its  income  for  1896  was  nearly  $30,000,  and  it  had  $60,000 
in  loans ;  43  homes  have  been  bought  through  this  asso 
ciation.22 

The  Pioneer  Association  is  composed  entirely  of  Negroes, 
the  directors  being  caterers,  merchants  and  upholsterers. 
It  was  founded  in  1888  and  has  an  office  on  Pine  street. 
Its  receipts  in  1897  were  $9000,  and  it  had  about  $20,000 
in  loans.  Nine  homes  are  at  present  being  bought  in  this 
association. 

There  are  arising  some  loan  associations  to  replace  the 
pawn-shops  and  usurers  to  some  extent.  The  Small  Ix)an 
Association,  for  instance,  was  founded  in  1891,  and  has  the 
following  report  for  1898  : 

Sliares  sold  . {1144,00 

Assessments  on  shares 114.40 

Repaid  loans 4537.5° 

Interest    .   * 417-06 

Cash  in  treasury    .   .   » 275 , 54 

Dividends  paid 222167 

Loans  made 4626.75 

Expenses 82.02 

The  Conservative  is  a  similar  organization,  consisting  of 
ten  members. 


22  This  association  has  issued  a  valuable  little  pamphlet  called  tf  Helpful 
Hints  on  Home,"  which  it  distributes.  This  explains  the  object  and 
methods  of  building  and  loan  associations. 


Sect.  34.]    Societies  and  Co-operative  Business.  327 

This  account  has  attempted  to  touch  only  the  chief  and 
characteristic  organizations,  and  makes  no  pretensions  to 
completeness.  It  shows,  however,  how  intimately  bound 
together  the  Negroes  of  Philadelphia  are.  These  associa 
tions  are  largely  experiments,  and  as  such,  are  continually 
reaching  out  to  new  fields.  The  latest  ventures  are  toward 
labor  unions,  co-operative  stores  and  newspapers.  There 
are  the  following  labor  unions,  among  others  :  The  Caterers' 
Club,  the  Private  Waiters'  Association,  the  Coachmen's 
Association,  the  Hotel  Brotherhood  (of  waiters),  the  Cigar- 
makers'  Union  (white  and  colored),  the  Hod-Carriers'  Union, 
the  Barbers'  Union,  etc. 

Of  the  Caterers1  Club  we  have  already  heard.23  The 
Private  Waiters'  Association  is  an  old  beneficial  order  with 
well-to-do  members.  The  private  waiter  is  really  a  skilled 
workman  of  high  order,  and  used  to  be  well  paid.  Next 
to  the  guild  of  caterers  he  ranked  as  high  as  any  class  of 
Negro  workmen  before  the  war — indeed  the  caterer  was 
but  a  private  waiter  further  developed.  Consequently  this 
labor  union  is  still  jealous  and  exclusive  and  contains 
some  members  long  retired  from  active  work.  The  Coach 
men's  Association  is  a  similar  society;  both  these  organiza 
tions  have  a  considerable  membership,  and  make  sick  and 
death  benefits  and  social  gatherings  a  feature.  The  Hotel 
Brotherhood  is  a  new  society  of  hotel  waiters  and  is  con 
ducted  by  young  men  on  the  lines  of  the  regular  trades 
unions,  with  which  it  is  more  or  less  affiliated  in  many 
cities.  It  has  some  relief  features  and  considerable  social 
life.  It  strives  to  open  and  keep  open  work  for  colored 
waiters  and  often  arranges  to  divide  territory  with  whites, 
or  to  prevent  one  set  from  supplanting  the  other.  The 
Cigar-makers'  Union  is  a  regular  trades  union  with  both 
white  and  Negro  members.  It  is  the  only  union  in  Phila 
delphia  where  Negroes  are  largely  represented.  No  friction 


1  See  supra,  p.  119  & 


228  Organized  Life  of  Negroes.       [Chap.  XII, 

is  apparent.  The  Hod-Carriers'  Union  is  large  and  of  consid 
erable  age  but  does  not  seem  to  be  very  active.  A  League  of 
Colored  Mechanics  was  formed  in  1897  but  did  not  accom 
plish  anything.  There  was  before  the  war  a  league  of  this 
sort  which  flourished,  and  there  undoubtedly  will  be 
attempts  of  this  sort  in  the  future  until  a  union  is  effected.24 

The  two  co-operative  grocery  stores,  and  the  caterers7 
supply  store  have  been  mentioned.25  There  was  a  dubious 
attempt  in  1896  to  organize  a  co-operative  tin-ware  store 
which  has  not  yet  been  successful.26 

With  all  this  effort  and  movement  it  is  natural  that  the 
Negroes  should  want  some  means  of  communication.  This 
they  have  in  the  following  periodicals  conducted  wholly  by 
Negroes : 


M The  College  Settlement  was  interested  in  this  organization,  but  the 
movement  was  evidently  premature. 

25  See  supra,  p.  117  and  p.  119. 

26  An  interesting  advertisement  of  this  venture  is  appended;  it  is   a 
curious  mixture  of  business,  exhortation  and  simplicity.     The  present 
state  of  the  enterprise  is  not  known  : 

"NOTICE  TO  AI,L. 

UWB  CALL  YOUR  ATTENTION 

"To  THIS  WORK. 

"THE   UNION  TIN- WARE  MANUFACTURING   CO. 

"  Is  now  at  work,  chartered  under  the  laws  of  the  States  of  New  Jersey 
and  Pennsylvania. 

u  The  purpose  of  said  Company  is  to  manufacture  everything  in  the 
TIN-WARE  LINE  that  the  law  allows,  and  to  sell  stock  all  over  the 
United  States  of  America;  and  put  in  members  enough  in  every  city  to 
open  a  Union  Tin-Ware  Store,  and  if  the  promoter  finds  that  he  has 
not  enough  members  in  a  city  to  open  a  Tin-Ware  Store,  then  he  shall 
open  it  with  money  from  the  factory.  SHARES  are  $10.00,  they  can  be 
paid  on  installment  plan;  and  you  do  not  have  any  monthly  dues  to  pay, 
but  on  the  soth  of  every  December  or  whenever  the  Stockholders 
appoint  the  time,  the  dividend  will  be  declared. 

"  We  will  make  this  one  of  the  grandest  organizations  ever  witnessed 
by  the  Race,  if  you  lend  us  your  aid.  This  Store  will  contain  Groceries, 
Dry  Goods  and  Tin- Ware,  and  you  can  do  your  dealing  at  your  own 
store.  This  factory  will  give  you  work,  and  learn  you  a  trade/* 


Sect  34.]    Societies  and  Co-operative  Business.  229 

A.  M.  E.  Church  Review,  quarterly,  8vo,  about  ninety- 
five  pages. 

Christian  Recorder,  eight-page  weekly  newspaper.  (Both 
these  are  organs  of  the  A.  M.  E.  Church.) 

Baptist  Christian  Banner,  four- page  weekly  newspaper. 
(Organ  of  the  Baptists.) 

Odd  Fellows'  Journal,  eight- page  weekly  newspaper. 
(Organ  of  Odd  Fellows.) 

Weekly  Tribune,  eight-page  weekly  newspaper,  seven 
teen  years  established. 

The  Astonisher,  eight-page  weekly  newspaper  (German- 
town). 

The  Standard-Echo,  four-page  weekly  newspaper  (since 
suspended). 

The  Tribune  is  the  chief  news  sheet  and  is  filled  generally 
with  social  notes  of  all  kinds,  and  news  of  movements 
among  Negroes  over  the  country.  Its  editorials  are  usually 
of  little  value  chiefly  because  it  does  not  employ  a  respon 
sible  editor.  It  is  in  many  ways  however  an  interesting 
paper  and  represents  pluck  and  perseverance  on  the 
part  of  its  publisher.  The  Astonisher  and  Standard 
Echo  are  news  sheets.  The  first  is  bright  but  crude. 
The  Recorder,  Banner  and  Journal  are  chiefly  filled 
with  columns  of  heavy  church  and  lodge  news.  The 
Review  has  had  an  interesting  history  and  is  probably  the 
best  Negro  periodical  of  the  sort  published;  it  is  often 
weighted  down  by  the  requirements  of  church  politics,  and 
compelled  to  publish  some  trash  written  by  aspiring  candi 
dates  for  office ;  but  with  all  this  it  has  much  solid  matter 
and  indicates  the  trend  of  thought  among  Negroes  to  some 
extent  It  has  greatly  improved  in  the  last  few  years. 
Many  Negro  newspapers  from  other  cities  circulate  here 
and  widen  the  feeling  of  community  among  the  colored 
people  of  the  city. 

One  other  kind  of  organization  has  not  yet  been  men 
tioned,  the  political  clubs,  of  which  there  are  probably 


230  Organised  Life  of  Negroes.      [Chap.  XII. 

fifty  in  tlie  city.      They  will  be  considered  in  another 
chapter. 

35.  Institutions. — The  chief  Negro  institutions  of  the 
city  are :  The  Home  for  Aged  and  Infirmed  Colored  Per 
sons,  the  Douglass  Hospital  and  Training  School,  the 
Woman's  Exchange  and  Girls'  Home,  three  cemetery 
companies,  the  Home  for  the  Homeless,  the  special  schools, 
as  the  Institute  for  Colored  Youth,  the  House  of  Industry, 
Raspberry  street  schools  and  Jones's  school  for  girls,  the 
Y.  M.  C.  A.,  and  University  Extension  Centre. 

The  Home  for  the  Aged,  situated  at  the  corner  of  Girard 
and  Belmont  avenues,  was  founded  by  a  Negro  lumber 
merchant,  Steven  Smith,  and  is  conducted  by  whites  and 
Negroes.  It  is  one  of  the  best  institutions  of  the  kind;  its 
property  is  valued  at  $400,000,  and  it  has  an  annual 
income  of  $30,000.  It  has  sheltered  558  old  people  since 
its  foundation  in  1864. 

The  Douglass  Memorial  Hospital  and  Training  School  is 
a  curious  example  of  the  difficult  position  of  Negroes  :  for 
years  nearly  every  hospital  in  Philadelphia  has  sought  to 
exclude  Negro  women  from  the  course  in  nurse-training, 
and  no  Negro  physician  could  have  the  advantage  of 
hospital  practice.  This  led  to  a  movement  for  a  Negro 
hospital ;  such  a  movement  however  was  condemned 
by  the  whites  as  an  unnecessary  addition  to  a  bewilder 
ing  number  of  charitable  institutions ;  by  many  of  the 
best  Negroes  as  a  concession  to  prejudice  and  a  draw 
ing  of  the  color  line.  Nevertheless  the  promoters 
insisted  that  colored  nurses  were  efficient  and  needed 
training,  that  colored  physicians  needed  a  hospital,  and 
that  colored  patients  wished  one.  Consequently  the  Doug 
lass  Hospital  has  been  established  and  its  success  seems  to 
warrant  the  effort.27 


27  Since  the  opening  of  the  hospital  colored  nurses  have  had   less 
trouble  In    white    institutions,  and   one  colored   physician  has  been 


Sect.  35.  ]  Institutions.  231 

The  total  income  for  the  year  1895-96  was  $4,656.31; 
sixty-one  patients  were  treated  during  the  year,  and  thirty- 
two  operations  performed ;  987  out-patients  were  treated. 
The  first  class  of  nurses  was  graduated  in  1897. 

The  Woman's  Exchange  and  Girls'  Home  is  conducted 
by  the  principal  of  the  Institute  for  Colored  Youth  at  756 
South  Twelfth  street  The  exchange  is  open  at  stated 
times  during  the  week,  and  various  articles  are  on  sale. 
Cheap  lodging  and  board  is  furnished  for  a  few  school 
girls  and  working  girls.  So  far  the  work  of  the  exchange 
has  been  limited  but  it  is  slowly  growing,  and  is  certainly 
a  most  deserving  venture.28 

The  exclusion  of  Negroes  from  cemeteries  has,  as  before 
mentioned,  led  to  the  organization  of  three  cemetery  com 
panies,  two  of  which  are  nearly  fifty  years  old.  The  Olive 
holds  eight  acres  of  property  in  the  Twenty-fourth  Ward, 
claimed  to  be  worth  $100,000.  It  has  900  lot  owners ;  the 
I^ebanon  holds  land  in  the  Thirty-sixth  Ward,  worth  at 
least  $75,000.  The  Merion  is  a  new  company  which 
owns  twenty-one  acres  in  Montgomery  County,  worth  per 
haps  $30,000.  These  companies  are  in  the  main  well- 
conducted,  although  the  affairs  of  one  are  just  now  some 
what  entangled. 

The  Home  for  the  Homeless  is  a  refuge  and  home  for 
the  aged  connected  with  the  Church  of  the  Crucifixion. 


appointed  intern  in  a  large  hospital.     Dr.  N.  F.  Mossell  was  chiefly 
instrumental  in  founding  the  Douglass  Hospital. 

» In  connection  with  this  work,  Bethel  Church  often  holds  small 
receptions  for  servant  girls  on  their  days  off,  when  refreshments  are 
served  and  a  pleasant  time  is  spent.  The  following  is  a  note  of  a  similar 
enterprise  at  another  church  :  "  The  members  of  the  Berean  Union 
have  opened  a  *  Y '  parlor,  where  young  colored  girls  employed  as  domes 
tics  can  spend  their  Thursday  afternoon  both  pleasantly  and  profitably. 
The  parlor  is  open  from  4  until  10  p.  m.,  every  Thursday,  and  members 
of  the  Union  are  present  to  welcome  them.  A  light  supper  is  served  for 
ten  cents.  The  evening  is  spent  in  literary  exercises  and  social  talk. 
The  parlor  is  in  the  Berean  Church,  South  College  avenue,  near  Twen 
tieth  street." 


232  Organized  Life  of  Negroes.       [Chap.  XII. 

It  is  supported  largely  by  whites  but  not  entirely.  It  has 
an  income  of  about  $500.  During  1896,  1108  lodgings 
were  furnished  to  ninety  women,  8384  meals  given  to 
inmates,  2705  to  temporary  lodgers,  2078  to  transients,  and 
812  to  invalids. 

The  schools  have  all  been  mentioned  before.  The 
Young  Men's  Christian  Association  has  had  a  checkered 
history,  chiefly  as  it  would  seem  from  the  wrong  policy 
pursued ;  there  is  in  the  city  a  grave  and  dangerous  lack  of 
proper  places  of  amusement  and  recreation  for  young  men. 
To  fill  this  need  a  properly  conducted  Young  Men's 
Christian  Association,  with  books  and  newspapers,  baths, 
bowling  alleys  and  billiard  tables,  conversation  rooms  and 
short, interesting  religious  services  is  demanded  ;  it  would 
cost  far  less  than  it  now  costs  the  courts  to  punish  the 
petty  misdemeanors  of  young  men  who  do  not  know  how  to 
amuse  themselves.  Instead  of  such  an  institution  however 
the  Colored  Y.  M.  C.  A.  has  been  virtually  an  attempt  to 
add  another  church  to  the  numberless  colored  churches  of 
the  city,  with  endless  prayer-meetings  and  loud  gospel 
hymns,  in  dingy  and  uninviting  quarters.  Consequently 
the  institution  is  now  temporarily  suspended.  It  had 
accomplished  some  good  work  by  its  night  schools,  and 
social  meetings. 

Since  the  organization  of  the  Bainbridge  Street  Univer 
sity  Extension  Centre,  May  10,  1895,  lectures  have  been 
delivered  at  the  Church  of  the  Crucifixion,  Eighth  and 
Bainbridge  streets,  by  Rev.  W.  Hudson  Shaw,  on  English 
History;  by  Thomas  Whitney  Surette,  on  the  Develop 
ment  of  Music;  by  Henry  W.  Elson,  on  American  His 
tory,  and  by  Hilaire  Belloc,  on  Napoleon.  Each  of  these 
lecturers,  except  Mr.  Belloc,  has  given  a  course  of  six 
lectures  on  the  subject  stated,  and  classes  have  been  held 
in  connection  with  each  course.  The  attendance  has 
been  above  the  average  as  compared  with  other  Centres 
in  the  city. 


Sect.  36.]       The  Experiment  of  Organization.  233 

Beside  these  efforts  there  are  various  embryonic  institu 
tions  :  A  day  nursery  in  the  Seventh  Ward  by  the  Woman's 
Missionary  Society,  a  large  organization  which  does  much 
charitable  work ;  an  industrial  school  near  the  city,  etc. 
There  are,  too,  many  institutions  conducted  by  whites  for 
the  benefit  of  Negroes,  which  will  be  mentioned  in  another 
place. 

Much  of  the  need  for  separate  Negro  institutions  has  in 
the  last  decade  disappeared,  by  reason  of  the  opening  of 
the  doors  of  the  public  institutions  to  colored  people. 
There  are  many  Negroes  who  on  this  account  strongly 
oppose  efforts  which  they  fear  will  tend  to  delay  further 
progress  in  these  lines.  On  the  other  hand,  thoughtful 
men  see  that  invaluable  training  and  discipline  is  coming 
to  the  race  through  these  institutions  and  organizations,  and 
they  encourage  the  formation  of  them. 

36.  The  Experiment  of  Organization. — looking  back 
over  the  field  which  we  have  thus  reviewed — the  churches, 
societies,  unions,  attempts  at  business  co-operation,  institu 
tions  and  newspapers — it  is  apparent  that  the  largest  hope 
for  the  ultimate  rise  of  the  Negro  lies  in  this  mastery  of 
the  art  of  social  organized  life.  To  be  sure,  compared 
with  his  neighbors,  he  has  as  yet  advanced  but  a  short 
distance ;  we  are  apt  to  condemn  this  lack  of  unity,  the 
absence  of  carefully  planned  and  laboriously  executed 
effort  among  these  people,  as  a  voluntary  omission — a  bit 
of  carelessness.  It  is  far  more  than  this,  it  is  lack  of  social 
education,  of  group  training,  and  the  lack  can  only  be  sup 
plied  by  a  long,  slow  process  of  growth.  And  the  chief 
value  of  the  organizations  studied  is  that  they  are 
evidences  of  growth.  Of  actual  accomplishment  they 
have,  to  be  sure,  something  to  show,  but  nothing  to  boast 
of  inordinately.  The  churches  are  far  from  ideal  asso 
ciations  for  fostering  the  higher  life — rather  they  combine 
too  often  intrigue,  extravagance  and  show,  with  all  their 
,  saving  and  charity ;  their  secret  societies  are  often 


234  Organised  Life  of  Negroes.        [Chap.  XII. 

diverted  from  their  better  ends  by  scheming  and  dishonest 
officers,  and  by  the  temptation  of  tinsel  and  braggadocio  ; 
their  beneficial  associations,  along  with  all  their  good  work, 
have  an  unenviable  record  of  business  inefficiency  and 
internal  dissension.  And  yet  all  these  and  the  other  agen 
cies  have  accomplished  much,  and  their  greatest  accom 
plishment  is  stimulation  of  effort  to  further  and  more 
effective  organization  among  a  disorganized  and  headless 
host.  All  this  world  of  co-operation  and  subordination 
into  which  the  white  child  is  in  most  cases  born  is,  we 
must  not  forget,  new  to  the  slave's  sons.  They  have  been 
compelled  to  organize  before  they  knew  the  meaning  of 
organization  \  to  co-operate  with  those  of  their  fellows  to 
whom  co-operation  was  an  unknown  term  ;  to  fix  and  fasten 
ideas  of  leadership  and  authority  among  those  who  had 
always  looked  to  others  for  guidance  and  command.  For 
these  reasons  the  present  efforts  of  Negroes  in  working 
together  along  various  lines  are  peculiarly  promising  for 
the  future  of  both  races. 


CHAPTER   XIII. 

THK   NEGRO   CRIMINAL. 

37.  History  of  Negro  Crime  in  the  City.1 — Prom  his 
earliest  advent  the  Negro,  as  was  natural,  has  figured 
largely  in  the  criminal  annals  of  Philadelphia,  Only  such 
superficial  study  of  the  American  Negro  as  dates  his 
beginning  with  1863  can  neglect  this  past  record  of  crime 
in  studying  the  present.  Crime  is  a  phenomenon  of  organ 
ized  social  life,  and  is  the  open  rebellion  of  an  individual 
against  his  social  environment.  Naturally  then,  if  men 
are  suddenly  transported  from  one  environment  to  another, 
the  result  is  lack  of  harmony  with  the  new  conditions ; 
lack  of  harmony  with  the  new  physical  surroundings  lead 
ing  to  disease  and  death  or  modification  of  physique ;  lack 
of  harmony  with  social  surroundings  leading  to  crime. 
Thus  very  early  in  the  history  of  the  colony  characteristic 
complaints  of  the  disorder  of  the  Negro  slaves  is  heard. 
In  1693,  July  n,  the  Governor  and  Council  approved  an 
ordinance,  "  Upon  the  Request  of  some  of  the  members  of 
Council,  that  an  order  be  made  by  the  Court  of  Quarter 
Sessions  for  the  Countie  of  Philadelphia,  the  4th  July 
instant  (proceeding  upon  a  presentment  of  the  Grand  June 
for  the  bodie  of  the  sd  countie),  agt  the  tumultuous  gath 
erings  of  the  Negroes  of  the  towne  of  Philadelphia,  on  the 


1  Throughout  this  chapter  the  basis  of  induction  is  the  number  of 
prisoners  received  at  different  institutions  and  not  the  prison  population 
at  particular  times.  This  avoids  the  mistakes  and  distortions  of  the 
latter  method.  (Cf.  Falkner;  "Crime  and  the  Census, JJ  Publications 
of  the  American  Academy  of  Political  and  Social  Science,  No.  190)- 
Many  writers  on  Crime  among  Negroes,  as  e.  g,,  F.  I*.  Hoffman,  and  all 
who  use  the  Eleventh  Census  uncritically,  have  fallen  into  numerous 
mistakes  and  exaggerations  by  carelessness  on  this  point. 

(235) 


236  The  Negro  Criminal  [Chap,  XIII. 

first  dayes  of  the  weeke,  ordering  the  Constables  of  phila- 
delphia,  or  anie  other  person  whatsoever,  to  have  power  to 
take  up  Negroes,  male  or  female,  whom  they  should  find 
gadding  abroad  on  the  said  first  dayes  of  the  weeke,  with 
out  a  ticket  from  their  Mr.  or  Mris.,  or  not  in  their  Compa, 
or  to  carry  them  to  gaole,  there  to  remain  that  night,  and 
that  without  meat  or  drink,  and  to  Cause  them  to  be  pub- 
lickly  whipt  next  morning  with  39  Lashes,  well  Laid  on, 
on  their  bare  backs,  for  which  their  sd.  Mr.  or  Mris.  should 
pay  i5d.  to  the  whipper,"  etc.  2 

Penn  himself  introduced  a  law  for  the  special  trial  and 
punishment  of  Negroes  very  early  in  the  history  of  the 
colony,  as  has  been  noted  before.3  The  slave  code  finally 
adopted  was  mild  compared  with  the  legislation  of  the 
period,  but  it  was  severe  enough  to  show  the  unruly  char 
acter  of  many  of  the  imported  slaves.4 

Especially  in  Philadelphia  did  the  Negroes  continue  to 
give  general  trouble,  not  so  much  by  serious  crime  as  by 
disorder.  In  1732,  under  Mayor  Hasel,  the  City  Council 
"  taking  under  Consideration  the  frequent  and  tumultuous 
meetings  of  the  Negro  Slaves,  especially  on  Sunday,  Gam 
ing,  Cursing,  Swearing,  and  committing  many  other  Dis 
orders,  to  the  great  Terror  and  Disquiet  of  the  Inhabitants 
of  this  city/'  ordered  an  ordinance  to  be  drawn  up  against 
such  disturbances.5  Again,  six  years  later,  we  hear  of  the 
draft  of  another  city  ordinance  for  "  the  more  Effectual 
suppressing  Tumultuous  meetings  and  other  disorderly 
doings  of  the  Negroes,  Mulattos  and  Indian  servts.  and 
slaves."6  And  in  1741,  August  17,  " frequent  complaints 
having  been  made  to  the  Board  that  many  disorderly  per 
sons  meet  every  ev'g  about  the  Court  house  of  this  city, 


3  "Pennsylvania  Colonial  Records,"  I,  380-81. 
*See  Chapter  III,  and  Appendix  B. 
*  Cf.  "Pennsylvania  Statutes  at  Large,"  Ch.  56. 
5     Watson's  "Annals,"  I,  62. 


Sect.  37.]  History  of  Negro  Crime.  237 

and  great  numbers  of  Negroes  and  others  sit  there  with 
milk  pails  and  other  things  late  at  night,  and  many  disor 
ders  are  there  committed  against  the  peace  and  good  gov 
ernment  of  this  city,"  Council  ordered  the  place  to  be 
cleared  "in  half  an  hour  after  sunset.*'  7 

Of  the  graver  crimes  by  Negroes  we  have  only  reports 
here  and  there  which  do  not  make  it  clear  how  frequently 
such  crimes  occurred.  In  1706  a  slave  is  arrested  for 
setting  fire  to  a  dwelling;  in  1738  three  Negroes  are 
hanged  in  neighboring  parts  of  New  Jersey  for  poisoning 
people,  while  at  Rocky  Hill  a  slave  is  burned  alive  for 
killing  a  child  and  burning  a  barn.  Whipping  of  Negroes 
at  the  public  whipping  post  was  frequent,  and  so  severe 
was  the  punishment  that  in  1743  a  slave  brought  up  to  be 
whipped  committed  suicide.  In  1762  two  Philadelphia 
slaves  were  sentenced  to  death  for  felony  and  burglary  ; 
petitions  were  circulated  in  their  behalf  but  Council  was 
obdurate.8 

Little  special  mention  of  Negro  crime  is  again  met  with 
until  the  freedmen  under  the  act  of  1780  began  to  congre 
gate  in  the  city  and  other  free  immigrants  joined  them. 
In  1809  the  leading  colored  churches  united  in  a  society  to 
suppress  crime  and  were  cordially  endorsed  by  the  public 
for  this  action.  After  the  war  immigration  to  the  city 
increased  and  the  stress  of  hard  times  bore  heavily  on  the 
lower  classes.  Complaints  of  petty  thefts  and  murderous 
assaults  on  peaceable  citizens  now  began  to  increase,  and 
in  numbers  of  cases  they  were  traced  to  Negroes.  The  better 
class  of  colored  citizens  felt  the  accusation  and  held  a 
meeting  to  denounce  crime  and  take  a  firm  stand  against 
their  own  criminal  class.  A  little  later  the  Negro  riots 
commenced,  and  they  received  their  chief  moral  support 
from  the  increasing  crime  of  Negroes;  a  Cuban  slave 


id.,  pp.  62-63. 

8  "Pennsylvania  Colonial  Records,  "  II,  275;  IX,  6;   "  "Watson's  An 
nals,"  I,  309, 


The  Negro  Criminal  [Chap.  XIII. 


brained  his  master  with  a  hatchet,  two  other  murders  by 
Negroes  followed,  and  gambling,  drunkenness  and  debauch 
ery  were  widespread  wherever  Negroes  settled.  The 
terribly  vindictive  insurrection  of  Nat  Turner  in  a  neigh 
boring  State  frightened  the  citizens  so  thoroughly  that 
when  some  black  fugitives  actually  arrived  at  Chester  from 
Southampton  County,  Virginia,  the  Legislature  was 
hastily  appealed  to,  and  the  whole  matter  came  to  a  climax 
in  the  disfranchisement  of  the  Negro  in  1837,  and  the  riots 
in  the  years  1830  to  1840.* 

Some  actual  figures  will  give  us  an  idea  of  this,  the 
worst  period  of  Negro  crime  ever  experienced  in  the  city. 
The  Eastern  Penitentiary  was  opened  in  1829  near  ^e  close 
of  the  year.  The  total  number  of  persons  received  here  for 
the  most  serious  crimes  is  given  in  the  next  table.  This 
includes  prisoners  from  the  Eastern  counties  of  the  State, 
but  a  large  proportion  were  from  Philadelphia  : 10 


Years. 

Total 
Commit 
ments. 

Negroes. 

Per  Cent 
of 
Negroes. 

Per  Cent  of 
Negroes 
of  Total 
Population. 

1820-74  .             ... 

QO 

2Q  O 

82*7  (  TPt-ari 

iS^-^Q  ....                     .    . 

Q^O 

356 

AQ  SI 

7  2O  (  iR/ln 

jRyin-M/j  ....._..,    T 

70  1 

2OQ 

29  8 

/«O7  \  ^04° 
7  1Q  (  ift/in 

l8dA-4Q  

6n 

1^1 

2-1  8 

48l  (  T&cn 

1850-54  

664 

106 

16.0 

4.83(1850 

Or  to  put  it  differently  the  problem  of  Negro  crime  in 
Philadelphia  from  1830  to  1850  arose  from  the  fact  that 
less  than  one-fourteenth  of  the  population  was  responsible 
for  nearly  a  third  of  the  serious  crimes  committed. 

These  figures  however  are  apt  to  relate  more  especially 
to  a  criminal  class.  A  better  measure  of  the  normal 
criminal  tendencies  of  the  group  would  perhaps  be  found 
in  the  statistics  of  Moyamensing,  where  ordinary  cases  of 
crime  and  misdemeanor  are  confined  and  which  contains 


9  Cf.  Chapter  IV. 

10  Reports  Eastern  Penitentiary. 


Sect  37.] 


History  of  Negro  Crime. 


239 


only   county   prisoners, 
prison  are : 


The  figures   for   Moyamensing 


Years. 

Total 
White 
Prisoners 
Received. 

Total 
Negro 
Prisoners 
Received. 

Per  Cent 
of  Negroes 
of  Total 
Prisoners. 

Per  Cent  of 
Negroes 
of  Total 
Population. 

l8ri6—  /ic           .    .                  ... 

1164 

1087 

.*Q  *2Q 

*7  1Q   (  jf^Afl\ 

lSA.6-%%  ... 

I  J.78 

606 

4°--*y 

12  OT 

/•oV  v  iO4u/ 
x  8?  /  Tftrn  i 

uyu 

4'°o  \-LO5u</ 

Total  

2642 

1783 

Here  we  have  even  a  worse  showing  than  before ;  in 
1896  the  Negroes  forming  4  per  cent  of  the  population  fur 
nish  9  per  cent  of  the  arrests,  but  in  1850  being  5  per  cent 
of  the  population  they  furnished  32  per  cent  of  the  prisoners 
received  at  the  county  prison.  Of  course  there  are  some 
considerations  which  must  not  be  overlooked  in  interpreting 
these  figures  for  1836-55.  It  must  be  remembered  that 
the  discrimination  against  the  Negro  was  much  greater 
then  than  now :  he  was  arrested  for  less  cause  and  given 
longer  sentences  than  whites.11  Great  numbers  of  those 
arrested  and  committed  for  trial  were  never  brought  to  trial 
so  that  their  guilt  could  not  be  proven  or  disproven  ;  of 
737  Negroes  committed  for  trial  in  six  months  of  the  year 
1837,  it  is  stated  that  only  123  were  actually  brought  to 
trial ;  of  the  prisoners  in  the  Eastern  Penitentiary,  1829  *° 
1846,  14  per  cent  of  the  whites  were  pardoned  and  2  per 
cent  of  the  Negroes.  All  these  considerations  increase  the 
statistics  to  the  disfavor  of  the  Negro.12  Nevertheless 
making  all  reasonable  allowances  it  is  undoubtedly  true 
that  the  crime  of  Negroes  in  this  period  reached  its  high 
tide  for  this  city. 

The  character  of  the  crimes  committed  by  Negroes 
compared  with  whites  is  shown  by  the  following  table, 


"Average  length  of  sentences  for  whites  in  Eastern  Penitentiary 
'during  nineteen  years,  2  years  8  -months  2  days ;  for  Negroes,  3  years 
3  months  14  days.  Cf.  "  Health  of  Convicts"  (pam.),  pp.  7,  8. 

™Ibid.,  "Condition  of  Negroes,"  iS;^  pp.  15-18;  "Condition,"  etc., 
1848,  pp.  26,  27. 


240 


The  Negro  Criminal.  [Chap.  XIII. 


which  covers  the  offences  of  1359  whites  and  718  Negroes 
committed  to  the  Eastern  Penitentiary,  1829-1846.  If  we 
take  simply  petty  larceny  we  find  that  48. 8  per  cent  of  the 
whites  and  55  per  cent  of  the  Negroes  were  committed  for 
this  offence.13 


Whites. 

N  egroes. 

Number. 

Per  Cent. 

Number. 

Per  Cent. 

Offences  us  tne  person 

1  66 

II-4 

8q 

12.4 

Offences  vs.  property  with  violence    . 
Offences  vs.  property  without  violence 

191 
873 

I3i 
59-8 

165 

432 

22.9 
60.2 

Malicious  offences  vs.  property    .   .    . 
Offences  vs.  Currency  and  forgery  .    . 

22 

167 

i-5 
11.5 

14 
7 

2.O 
1.0 

Miscellaneous   .       

4O 

27.0 

II 

1.5 

All  offences    

1359 

ICO 

718 

IOO 

38,  Negro  Crime  Since  the  War. — Throughout  the 
land  there  has  been  since  the  war  a  large  increase  in  crime, 
especially  in  cities.  This  phenomenon  would  seem  to 
have  sufficient  cause  in  the  increased  complexity  of  life, 
in  industrial  competition,  and  the  rush  of  great  numbers 
to  the  large  cities.  It  would  therefore  be  natural  to  sup 
pose  that  the  Negro  would  also  show  this  increase  in 
criminality  and,  as  in  the  case  of  all  lower  classes,  that  he 
would  show  it  in  greater  degree.  His  evolution  has,  how 
ever,  been  marked  by  some  peculiarities.  For  nearly  two 
decades  after  emancipation  he  took  little  part  in  many  of 
the  great  social  movements  about  him  for  obvious  reasons. 
His  migration  to  city  life,  therefore,  and  his  sharing  in  the 
competition  of  modern  industrial  life,  came  later  than  was 
the  case  with  the  mass  of  his  fellow  citizens.  The  Negro 
began  to  rush  to  the  cities  in  large  numbers  after  1880, 
and  consequently  the  phenomena  attendant  on  that 
momentous  change  of  life  are  tardier  in  his  case.  His  rate 
of  criminality  has  in  the  last  two  decades  risen  rapidly, 
and  this  is  a  parallel  phenomenon  to  the  rapid  rise  of  the 


13  "  Condition  of  Negroes,"  1849,  PP-  28>  29.     "  Condition,"  etc.,  1838, 
pp.  15-18. 


Sect.  38.]        Negro  Crime  Since  the  War.  241 

white  criminal  record  two  or  three  decades  ago.  Moreover, 
in  the  case  of  the  Negro  there  were  special  causes  for  the 
prevalence  of  crime :  he  had  lately  been  freed  from  serf 
dom,  he  was  the  object  of  stinging  oppression  and  ridicule, 
and  paths  of  advancement  open  to  many  were  closed  to 
him.  Consequently  the  class  of  the  shiftless,  aimless,  idle, 
discouraged  and  disappointed  was  proportionately  larger. 

In  the  city  of  Philadelphia  the  increasing  number  of 
bold  and  daring  crimes  committed  by  Negroes  in  the  last 
ten  years  has  focused  the  attention  of  the  city  on  this  sub 
ject.  There  is  a  widespread  feeling  that  something  is 
wrong  with  a  race  that  is  responsible  for  so  much  crime, 
and  that  strong  remedies  are  called  for.  One  has  but  to 
visit  the  corridors  of  the  public  buildings,  when  the  courts 
are  in  session,  to  realize  the  part  played  in  law-breaking  by 
the  Negro  population.  The  various  slum  centres  of  the 
colored  criminal  population  have  lately  been  the  objects  of 
much  philanthropic  effort,  and  the  work  there  has  aroused 
discussion.  Judges  on  the  bench  have  discussed  the  mat 
ter.  Indeed,  to  the  minds  of  many,  this  is  the  real  Negro 
problem.14 

That  it  is  a  vast  problem  a  glance  at  statistics  will 
show;15  and  since  1880  it  has  been  steadily  growing.  At 
the  same  time  crime  is  a  difficult  subject  to  study,  more 


14  "The  large  proportion  of  colored  men  who,  in  April/had  been  before 
the  criminal  court,  led  Judge  Gordon  to  make  a  suggestion  -when  he  yes 
terday  discharged  the  jurors  for  the  term.    '  It  would  certainly  seem,'  said 
the  Court,  '  that  the  philanthropic  colored  people  of  the  community,  of 
whom  there  are  a  great  many  excellent  and  intelligent  citizens  sincerely 
interested  in  the  welfare  of  their  race,  ought  to  see  what  is  radically 
wrong  that  produces  this  state  of  affairs  and  correct  it,   if  possible. 
There  is  nothing  in  history  that  indicates  that  the  colored  race  has  a  pro 
pensity  to  acts  of  violent  crime;  on  the  contrary,  their  tendencies  are 
most  gentle,  and  they  submit  with  grace  to  subordination.*  "     Philadel 
phia  Record,  April  29,  1893;  Cf.  Record,  May  10  and  12;  Ledger,  May  10, 
and  Times,  May  22,  1893. 

15  Except  as  otherwise  noted,  the  statistics  of  this  section  are  from  the 
official  reports  of  the  police  department, 


242 


The  Negro  Criminal.          [Chap.  XIII. 


difficult  to  analyze  into  its  sociological  elements,  and  most 
difficult  to  cure  or  suppress.  It  is  a  phenomenon  that 
stands  not  alone,  but  rather  as  a  symptom  of  countless 
wrong  social  conditions. 

The  simplest,  but  crudest,  measure  of  crime  is  found 
in  the  total  arrests  for  a  period  of  years.  The  value  of 
such  figures  is  lessened  by  the  varying  efficiency  and  dili 
gence  of  the  police,  by  discrimination  in  the  administration 
of  law,  and  by  unwarranted  arrests.  And  yet  the  figures 
roughly  measure  crime.  The  total  arrests  and  the  number 
of  Negroes  is  given  in  the  next  table  for  thirty-two  years, 
with  a  few  omissions  : 

ARRESTS  IN  PHILADELPHIA,  1864-96. 


Date. 

Total 
Number 
Arrested. 

Total 
Negroes 
Arrested. 

Percentage 
of  Negroes. 

1864  .    .                                                          ... 

•*4.  221 

-i  114 

9T 

!865                    

43,226 

2,722 

6  •; 

!869                                                

•*S,  74Q 

2.QO7 

7C 

1870  

31,717 

2,O7O 

•5 

6.«> 

1873                                  .           .    .       .... 

30,400 

I.^SO 

A  ^ 

1874.              

32,114 

1,257 

3Q 

34..  ^53 

I,**^Q 

4C 

^76  .    ,    ,    .       

1877                      .                              

44.  22O 

2  ^24 

r  7 

7870               .                                         , 

AO  TLA. 

2  "260 

e  « 

io/y    ...         ,....«... 
l88o    ....    

44,  OQ7 

2,2O4 

O*° 
A  08 

!88i                 .   .                         »  

4C.12Q 

2  "*27 

5   TT 

1882                        .... 

4.6  I^O 

2  l8^ 

471 

1883  .   .       .                  

AZ  2Q^ 

2  O22 

*/  J 

A  A6 

2884      .                •      .... 

4Q,46S 

2  174 

A  "*! 

1885                                   .          ...... 

cr  /n8 

2  662 

5TT 

j8S6  .   .           

.  J.J. 

1887              

^7  Q^I 

3  2^6 

r  6l 

!88S                                

4.6  SQQ 

2  QIO 

6  20 

I^gq        

4.2,673 

2  6l4 

6  10 

*-~y   
1800   

49  J4& 

•^  l67 

6  AA 

1891                .                              

c^  184 

"i    ZAA 

6  66 

1892                             

co  QAA 

3     A  7T 

6  48 

180-;   

57,297 

J-^O1 
A   O78 

7  II 

1804.            ...             

61  478 

4.  8o«; 

7  8l 

iO^iJ.      .        .                                  ...                                                   

iScK                                  .    .    . 

60  ^4.7 

5T-27 

8  =; 

1896  

58,072 

>  •Lo/ 

5,302 

°«o 

9-i 

We  find  that  the  total  arrests  in  the  city  per  annum  have 
risen  from  34,221  in  1864  to  61,478  in  1894,  an  increase  of 


Sect   38.]        Negro  Crime  Since  the  War.  343 

80  per  cent  in  crime,  parallel  to  an  increase  of  85  per  cent 
in  population.  The  Negroes  arrested  have  increased  from 
3114  in  1864  t°  4^05  in  1894,  an  increase  of  54  per  cent  in 
crime,  parallel  to  an  increase  of  77  per  cent  in  the  Negro 
population  of  the  city.  So,  too,  the  percentage  of  Negroes 
in  the  total  arrests  is  less  in  1894  than  in  1864.  If,  how 
ever,  we  follow  the  years  between  these  two  dates  we  see 
an  important  development :  1864  was  t^ie  date  bounding 
the  ante-bellum  period  of  crime;  thereafter  the  proportion  of 
Negro  arrests  fell  steadily  until,  in  1874,  ttie  Negroes  came 
as  nearly  as  ever  furnishing  their  normal  quota  of 
arrests,  3.9  per  cent  from  3.28  per  cent  (1870)  of  the  popu 
lation.  Then  slowly  there  came  a  change.  With  the 
Centennial  Exposition  in  1876  came  a  stream  of  immi 
grants,  and  once  started  the  stream  increased  in  speed  by 
its  own  momentum.  With  this  immigration  the  propor 
tion  of  Negro  arrests  arose  rapidly  at  first  as  a  result  of  the 
exposition ;  falling  off  a  little  in  the  early  eighties,  but  with 
1885  rising  again  steadily  and  quickly  to  over  6  per  cent 
in  1888,  6.4  per  cent  in  1890,  7  per  cent  in  1893,  8.5  per 
cent  in  1895,  9  per  cent  in  1896.  This  is,  as  has  been  said 
before,  but  a  rough  indication  of  the  amount  of  crime  for 
which  the  Negro  is  responsible ;  it  must  not  be  relied  on 
too  closely,  for  the  number  of  arrests  cannot  in  any  city 
accurately  measure  wrongdoing  save  in  a  very  general  way; 
probably  increased  efficiency  in  the  police  force  since  1864 
has  had  large  effect ;  and  yet  we  can  draw  the  legitimate 
conclusion  here  that  Negro  crime  in  the  city  is  far  less, 
according  to  population,  than  before  the  war ;  that  after  the 
war  it  decreased  until  the  middle  of  the  seventies  and  then, 
coincident  with  the  beginning  of  the  new  Negro  immigra 
tion  to  cities,1*  it  has  risen  pretty  steadily. 

These  same  phenomena  can  be  partially  verified  by  sta 
tistics  of  Moyamensing  prison.     If  we  take  the  tried  and 


»  Cf.  Cliapters  IV  and  VII. 


244  Tfo  Negro  Criminal.  [Chap.  XIII. 

untried   prisoners   committed  to  this  county  prison  from 
1876  to  1895  we  find  the  same  gradual  increase  of  crime  : 

MOYAMENSING  PRISON. 

Both  Tried  and  Untried  Prisoners. 


Date. 

Total 
Receptions 

Negroes. 

Per  Cent 
of  Negroes. 

1876                    .                     .        ....*.. 

21,736 

1,530 

7.8 

1877                

22,666 

1,460 

6.44 

1878                        .    .        .    .    

22,147 

1,356 

6.12 

1870                

20,736 

1*136 

5.48 

!88o                                  

22,487 

1,030 

4.58 

!88i          ,    .               

22,478 

1,  168 

5.19 

Igg2                                 

24,176 

1,274 

5.27 

!883              .                  

23,  245 

1,175 

5.05 

3:884                  .       

25,081 

1,218 

4.86 

!88s  

24,725 

1,427 

5.77 

Z886                     

27,286 

1,708 

6,26 

1887                             ...       ....... 

28,064 

1,724 

^.Q7 

!888                  .   .       .               

21,399 

1,399 

o-w 
6.^4. 

!88q       .   .               

18,476 

1,^38 

7.24 

A?°7  
1800              

20,582 

1,611 

7.83 

1801  ,       

22,  745 

*>723 

7.57 

1802                                                        .... 

22,460 

I,QOO 

846 

iSo1;      

25,209 

2,234 

8.86 

180,1              

25,777 

2,452 

Q.5I 

ifioc      

22,584 

2,317 

^*o* 
IO.26 

Total     

464,959 

31,180 

6.70 

1376—1885        

229,477 

12,774 

5-57 

1886-1895     

235.482 

18,406 

7.81 

If  we  compare  in  this  table  the  period  1876-85  with  that 
of  1886-95  we  find  that  the  proportion  of  Negro  criminals 
in  the  first  period  was  5.6  per  cent,  in  the  second  7.8  per 
cent 

The  statistics  of  inmates  of  the  House  of  Correction 
where  mild  cases  and  juveniles  are  sent,  for  the  last  few  years 
go  to  tell  the  same  tale : 


Year. 

Total 
Receptions 

Negroes. 

Percentage 
of  Negroes. 

1801  ... 

con? 

27/f 

A  6 

r^     ........ 
1802   .... 

oyw 

C2Q7 

^/4 

2C/f 

4.u 

A   8 

189^   

1804  .    .            .                        .    .  - 

6^7Q 

iocs 

16  o 

1895   

7548 

672 

8-9 

Sect.  38.]         Negro  Crime  Since  the  War. 


245 


Gathering  up  the  statistics  presented  let  us  make  a 
rough  diagram  of  some  of  the  results.  First  let  us  scan 
the  record  of  the  Negro  in  serious  crime,  such  as  entails 
incarceration  in  the  Eastern  Penitentiary.  In  these  figures 
the  Philadelphia  convicts  are  not  separated  from  those  in 
the  eastern  counties  of  the  state  prior  to  1885.  A  large 
proportion  of  the  prisoners  however  are  from  Philadelphia ; 
perhaps  the  net  result  of  the  error  is  somewhat  to  reduce  the 
apparent  proportion  of  Negroes  in  the  earlier  years. 
Taking  then  the  proportion  of  Negro  prisoners  received  to 
total  receptions  since  the  founding  of  the  Penitentiary  we 
have  this  diagram : 

PROPORTION  OF  NEGROES  TO  TOTAI,  CONVICTS  RECEIVED  AT  THE 
EASTERN  PENITENTIARY,  1829-1895. 


40 


A 


I 


1830    183S    1840   (845    1850   (855   I860   1865  1870    1875    1880  1885    1890  1895 
—•— •  PROPORTION  OF  NEGRO  TO  TOTAL  CRIMINALS. 

>>M<  Mt  ..  ~  POPULATION    OF  PHILADELPHIA* 

The  general  rate  of  criminality  may  be  graphically  repre 
sented  from  the  proportion  of  Negroes  in  the  county  prison, 


246 


The  Negro  Criminal.  [Chap.  XIII. 


although  changes  In  the  policy  of   the  courts   make  the 
validity  of  this  somewhat  uncertain  : 


1640  1850  i860  (870  I88O  1890  1900 

•"  PROPORTION  OF  NEGROES  IN  MOYAMENSING  PRISON  TO  TOTAL  PRISONERS 

—  •  TOTAL  POPULATION  OF  CITY 

—  PROPORTION      ETC.  ESTIMATED  FROM  ARRESTS. 


It  thus  seems  certain17  that  general  criminality  as 
represented  by  commitments  to  the  county  prison  has 
decreased  markedly  since  1840,  and  that  its  rapid  increase 
since  1880  leaves  it  still  far  behind  the  decade  1830  to  1840. 
Serious  crime  as  represented  by  commitments  to  the  peni 
tentiary  shows  a  similar  decrease  but  one  not  so  marked 
indicating  the  presence  of  a  pretty  distinct  criminal  class. 


17  The  chief  element  of  uncertainty  lies  in  the  varying  policy  of  the 
courts,  as  for  instance,  in  the  proportion  of  prisoners  sent  to  different 
places  of  detention,  the  severity  of  sentence,  etc.  Only  the  general 
conclusions  are  insisted  on  here. 


Sect.  38.]         Negro  Crime  Since  the  War. 


247 


CONVICTS  COMMITTED  TO  THE  EASTERN  PENITENTIARY. 


Years. 

Total  Com 
mitments. 

Negroes. 

Percentage 
of  Negroes. 

jg  7C—  ?Q 

878 

_g 

4O  5 

jQrr_  CQ 

Q4I 

126 

j-  4 

1860-64       

QOQ 

I2Q 

14.2 

1474 

I7O 

12  I 

I87O-74       

I2QI 

174 

1^.4 

2^47 

275 

II.  7 

I88O-84       ...                       .... 

2282 

308 

1885-80*  ...   

223 

14.  OQ 

1890-95*  

1418 

22.43 

*  Only  convicts  from  Philadelphia;  the  statistics  for  the  year  1891  are  not  available 
And  are  omitted. 

The  record  of  arrests  per  1000  of  Negro  population 
1864  to  1896  seems  to  confirm  these  conclusions  for  that 
period: 


wwnwm 

\ 

W5 

\ 

\ 

(19. 

\ 

/ 

\ 

/ 

v 

\ 

^94 

/ 

/ 

\ 

/ 

7»P» 

\ 

/ 

€3 

\ 

\ 
\ 
\ 

xx 

—  -65 

---"" 

\ 

\ 

/ 

54 

^^ 

Vt  Pt»M 

Nw 

^^X^^ 

SO 

45 

44 

45 

"^ 

IB65  1870  IS75  J8SO  1665  1690 

NEGRO  ARRESTS  TO  EVERY    1000  OF  NEGRO    POPULATION. 

WHITE       »  "          •         1000    -    WHITE 


1895 


The  increase  in  crime  between  1890  and  1895  is  not 
without  pretty  adequate  explanation  in  the  large  Negro 


248 


The  Negro  Criminal.  [Chap.  XIII. 


immigration  cityward  and  especially  in  uthe  terrible 
business  depression  of  1893"  to  which  the  police  bureau 
attributes  the  increase  of  arrests.  The  effect  of  this  would 
naturally  be  greater  among  the  economic  substrata. 

This  brings  us  to  the  question,  Who  are  the  Negro 
criminals  and  what  crimes  do  they  commit?  To  obtain 
an  answer  to  this  query  let  us  make  a  special  study  of  a 
typical  group  of  criminals. 

39.  A  Special  Study  in  Crime.18 — During  ten  years 
previous  to  and  including  1895,  there  were  committed  to 
the  Eastern  Penitentiary,  the  following  prisoners  from  the 
city  of  Philadelphia : 

WHITES  AND  NEGROES  COMMITTED  TO  THE 
EASTERN  PENITENTIARY, 


Date. 

Total  Con 
victions. 

Negroes. 

Per  Cent  of 
Negroes. 

1885  

•3T7. 

AO 

12  78  1 

1886  

T.A7 

AZ 

12  Q7    1 

1887  

£ 

^6^ 

C7 

£' 

IA  DO     >    T/(    Q 

1888  

6°5 
260 

oo 

7Q 

T/f    Ar\ 

l88q  .    . 

j£uy 

2QI 

s 

A& 

T5T    fit 

l8qo  .... 

^yi 
271 

£7 

A^.OI    J 
27.    "2^    ^ 

1801*    .   . 

°o 

^5"*b 

•    '       \ 

1892  

217 

A2 

IQ  71     1 

1893  

•5  2O 

7A 

llll  f  22'43 

1804  ....... 

-?2Q 

6q 

^o-^o    ! 

2O  O7     1 

1895  

O^V 
28=C 

uy 
*7O 

^u*7/     1 
24  ^6     1 

^4-0°   J 

Total    

3,001 

541 

1  8.  2  average. 

*  Statistics  for  this  year  were  not  available.    Throughout  this  section,  therefore, 
this  year  Is  omitted. 


us  now  take  the  541  Negroes  who  have  been  the 
perpetrators  of  the  serious  crimes  charged  to  their  race 
during  the  last  ten  years  and  see  what  we  may  learn. 
These  are  all  criminals  convicted  after  trial  for  periods 

16  For  the  collection  of  the  material  here  compiled,  I  am  indebted  to 
Mr.  David  N.  Fell,  Jr.,  a  student  of  the  Senior  Class,  Wharton  School, 
University  of  Pennsylvania,  in  the  year  ^S-'gy,  As  before  noted  the 
figures  in  this  Section  refer  to  the  number  of  prisoners  received  at  the 
Eastern  Penitentiary,  and  not  to  the  total  prison  population  at  any  par 
ticular  time. 


Sect  39.]  A  Special  Study  in  Crime.  249 

varying  from  six  months  to  forty  years.  It  seems  plain  in 
the  first  place  that  the  4  per  cent  of  the  population  of 
Philadelphia  having  Negro  blood  furnished  from  1885  to 
1889,  14  per  cent  of  the  serious  crimes,  and  from  1890  to 
1895,  22^  per  cent.  This  of  course  assumes  that  the 
convicts  in  the  penitentiary  represent  with  a  fair  degree  of 
accuracy  the  crime  committed.  The  assumption  is  not 
wholly  true ;  in  convictions  by  human  courts  the  rich 
always  are  favored  somewhat  at  the  expense  of  the  poor, 
the  upper  classes  at  the  expense  of  the  unfortunate 
classes,  and  whites  at  the  expense  of  Negroes.  We  know 
for  instance  that  certain  crimes  are  not  punished  in  Phila 
delphia  because  the  public  opinion  is  lenient,  as  for 
instance  embezzlement,  forgery,  and  certain  sorts  of 
stealing;  on  the  other  hand  a  commercial  community 
is  apt  to  punish  with  severity  petty  thieving,  breaches  of 
the  peace,  and  personal  assault  or  burglary.  It  happens, 
too,  that  the  prevailing  weakness  of  ex-slaves  brought  up 
in  the  communal  life  of  the  slave  plantation,  without 
acquaintanceship  with  the  institution  of  private  property, 
is  to  commit  the  very  crimes  which  a  great  centre  of 
commerce  like  Philadelphia  especially  abhors.  We  must 
add  to  this  the  influences  of  social  position  and  connections 
in  procuring  whites  pardons  or  lighter  sentences.  It  has 
been  charged  by  some  Negroes  that  color  prejudice  plays 
some  part,  but  there  is  no  tangible  proof  of  this,  save 
perhaps  that  there  is  apt  to  be  a  certain  presumption  of 
guilt  when  a  Negro  is  accused,  on  the  part  of  police,  public 
and  judge.19  All  these  considerations  modify  somewhat 
our  judgment  of  the  moral  status  of  the  mass  of  Negroes. 
And  yet,  with  all  allowances,  there  remains  a  vast  problem 
of  crime. 

The  chief  crimes  for  which  these  prisoners  were  con 
victed  were : 


w  Witness  the  case  of  Marion  Stuyvesant  accused  of  the  murder  of  the 
librarian  Wilson,  in  1897. 


250 


The  Negro  Criminal  [Chap.  XIII. 


Theft 243 

Serious  assaults  on  persons 139 

Robbery  and  burglary 85 

Rape ...        .  24 

Other  sexual  crimes 23 

Homicide 16 

All  other  crimes n 

Total 541 

Following  these  crimes  from  year  to  year  we  have : 


* 

Crime. 

I 

i 

§ 

1 

s 

& 

N 

CT'v 

00 

& 

CO 

I 

to 

£ 

1 

Theft  etc     

?o 

?T 

23 

T? 

?1 

39 

20 

32 

23 

28 

243 

Robbery  and  burglary  .   .   . 

2 
IO 

8 

II 

5 

TS 

5 

0 

9 

12 

7 

Q 

14 
TO 

8 
77 

85 
139 

Homicide     .   .              .   -   . 

7 

? 

5 

2 

T 

T 

2 

16 

Sexual  crimes 

6 

4 

•2 

-i 

47 

All  others        !   !   

? 

I 

T 

7. 

3 

2 

11 

Total      

40 

4^ 

«tt 

4-0 

47 

64 

42 

7^ 

67 

70 

541 

The  course  of  the  total  serious  crime  for  this  period  may 
be  illustrated  by  this  diagram: 


1889         i860        1887          1388         1889         I89Q         1891 


1803        1894       1693 


Drawing  a  similar   diagram  for  the  different  sorts  of 
crime  we  have : 


Sect.  39.]  A  Special  Study  in  Crime. 


251 


... -  HOMICIDE: 


BURGLARY  &  ROBBERY 


In  ten  years  convictions  to  the  penitentiary  for  theft 
have  somewhat  increased,  robbery,  burglary  and  assault 
have  considerably  increased,  homicide  has  remained  about 
the  same,  and  sexual  crimes  have  decreased.  Detailed 
statistics  are  given  in  the  following  table : 
CRIMES  OF  541  CONVICTS  IN  EASTERN  PENITENTIARY,  1885-1895. 


Crimes. 

8 

I 

£ 

i 

i 

& 

8 

1 

1 

6 
ii 

i 

1 

9 

17 
i 

I 

I 
3 
7 

3 
i 

1 

3 

2 

i 
6 
5 

3 
3 

4 

3 
6 

2 

76 

I 
I 

3 
4 

i 
i 

*6 

13 

i 

Aggravated  assault  and  battery  .   . 
Assault  to  kill                        .    . 

Assault  to  murder                     •    «   • 

20 

2 

21 

3 
5 

23 
3 

5 

13 

I 

4 

24 

5 

39 
4 
5 

2 

17 

3 
4 

27 
5 
9 

T 

I 

22 

9 

IO 

i 
28 
6 

2 

Larceny    

Burglary  

JEDmoezzlcineiit           -       •       »   * 

2 

I 
I 
I 
I 

I 

I 

I 

i 

3 

2 

3 

2 
I 

2 

3 

I 

2 

I 
I 

Abortion 

Rape  .    .   

Attempt  to  rape  
Incest 

6 

4 
i 

. 

I 

• 

• 

I 

I5nticin£T  femfl-lft  cliild                      . 

Carrying  concealed  weapons  .   .   . 

I 

4 

i 

I 
I 
I 

I 
I 

• 

I 

• 

• 

I 
2 

Receiving  stolen  goods    

Mayhem   .       

ITI/lAf^Tlf"  f^TTTXYStlT^ 

Conspiracy  

40 

45 

53 

47 

~64 

- 

73 

I 

Total.   

40 

42 

6? 

70 

The  Negro  Criminal.  [Chap.  XIII. 

The  total  crime  can  be  classified  also  in  this  way  : 

Crimes  against  property     ......    328  60.63  percent. 

"           "       persons    .......    157  29.02 

4<            "       persons  and  property  .       8  1.48        " 

Sexual  crimes    .   ..........      48  8.87 

541  100.     percent. 


Let  us  now  turn  from  the  crime  to  the  criminals.  497  of 
them  (91.87  per  cent)  were  males  and  44  (8.13  per  cent) 
were  females.  296  (54.71  per  cent)  were  single,  208  (3445 
per  cent)  were  married,  and  37  (6.84  per  cent)  were  widowed. 
In  age  they  were  divided  as  follows  : 


Age. 

Number. 

Percentage. 

58 

io.73l 

I7O 

1       —  f  _      r 

132 

f     56.I9J 

132 

24.03  "I 

34 

^LnS 

10 

Z85  I34'08 

60  and  over   

5 

-9i  J 

Total  

541 

100. 

The  mass  of  criminals  are,  it  is  easy  to  see,  young  single 
men  under  thirty.  Detailed  statistics  of  sex  and  age  and 
conjugal  condition  are  given  in  the  next  tables. 

AGE  AND  SEX  OF  CONVICTS  IN  EASTERN  PENITENTIARY. 
NEGROES,  1885-1895. 


Ages. 

Males. 

Females. 

Total. 

53 

5 

58 

153 

17 

170 

119 

13 

132 

86 

5 

85 

4.5 

2 

47 

AQ-AA                                                . 

21 

I 

22 

II 

I 

12 

? 

3 

5    ^-,  

15 

15 

Total            

4Q7 

44 

541 

Sect  39.]          A  Special  Study  in  Crime. 


253 


CONJUGAL  CONDITION  OF  CONVICTS  IN  EASTERN  PENITENTIARY. 


Ap-e 

Males. 

Females. 

Single. 

Married. 

Widowed. 

Single. 

Married. 

Widowed. 

15-19 

48 

5 

0 

4 

I 

o 

20-24 

117 

35 

0 

7 

9 

I 

25-29 

59 

54 

8 

3 

10 

0 

30-34 

30 

38 

6 

0 

4 

I 

35~39 

ii 

30 

4 

o 

o 

2 

40-49 

8 

16 

8 

o 

2 

O 

50-59 

3 

3 

4 

0 

O 

0 

60  and  over 

o 

2 

3 

o 

o 

O 

The  convicts  were  born  in  the  following  States: 

Philadelphia 114 

Other  parts  of  Pennsylvania 48 

New  Jersey 21 

Maryland ......  99 

Virginia .  77 

Delaware 37 

District  of  Columbia 55 

North  Carolina 19 

New  York II 

South  Carolina 9 

Georgia 8 

Other  parts  of  the  North  ........  13 

"        "        "       South  .....,.,  22 

The  West 13 

Foreign  Countries 15 

541 

Altogether  21  per  cent  were  natives  of  Philadelphia ; 
were  born  in  the  North,  and  309,  or  57  per  cent,  were 
born  in  the  South.  Two-thirds  of  the  Negroes  of  the  city, 
judging  from  the  Seventh  Ward,  were  born  outside  the 
city,  and  this  part  furnishes  79  per  cent  of  the  serious 
crime.  54  per  cent  were  born  in  the  South,  and  this  part 
furnishes  57  per  cent  of  the  crime,  or  more,  since  many 
giving  their  birthplace  as  In  the  North  were  really  born  in 
the  South. 

The  total  illiteracy  of  this  group  reaches  26  per  cent  or 
adding  in  those  who  can  read  and  write  imperfectly,  34  per 
cent  compared  with  18  per  cent  for  the  Negroes  of  the 


254 


The  Negro  Criminal.  [Chap.  XIII. 


city  in  1890.     In  other  words  the  illiterate  fifth  of  the 
Negro  population  furnished  a  third  of  the  worst  criminals. 

II,I,ITERACY  OF  CONVICTS  IN  THE  EASTERN  STATE  PENITENTIARY. 


Year. 

Read  and  Write. 

Read  and  Write 
Imperfectly. 

Totally  Illiterate. 

Number. 

Per  Cent. 

Number. 

Per  Cent 

Number. 

Per  Cent. 

1885                 .        ... 

20 

25 
27 

3 

43 
33 
55 
49 
55 

50.0 
55-55 
50-94 
64.10 
56.52 
68.25 
78.57 
74-32 
71.01 
78.57 

6 

4 

1 

10 

3 
o 
o 

0 

o 

15.0 

8.88 

24.53 
15.38 
21.74 
4.76 
o 

0 

o 

0 

14 

16 

"t 

10 

17 
9 
19 

20 

15 

35-0 
35-55 
24-53 
20.51 
21.74 
26.98 

21-43 
25-68 
28.99 
21.43 

!886    

1887                .    .    . 

1888    .                   ... 

1889    .    .                ... 

1890        

1892                     .... 

1801    

1801                 

1895    

Total  

358 

66.17 

42 

7.76 

141 

26.06 

Naturally  as  the  general  intelligence  of  a  community 
increases  the  general  intelligence  of  its  criminals  increases, 
though  seldom  in  the  same  proportion,  showing  that  some 
crime  may  justly  be  attributed  to  pure  ignorance.  The 
number  of  criminals  able  to  read  and  write  has  increased 
from  50  per  cent  in  1885  to  79  per  cent  in  1895.  The 
number  of  colored  men  from  fifteen  to  thirty  who  can 
read  and  write  was  about  90  per  cent  in  the  Seventh  Ward 
in  1896.  This  shows  how  little  increased  intelligence 
alone  avails  to  stop  crime  in  the  face  of  other  powerful 
forces.  It  would  of  course  be  illogical  to  connect  these 
phenomena  directly  as  cause  and  effect  and  make  Negro 
crime  the  result  of  Negro  education — in  that  case  we 
should  find  it  difficult  to  defend  the  public  schools  in  most 
modern  lands.  Crime  comes  either  in  spite  of  intelligence 
or  as  a  result  of  misdirected  Intelligence  under  severe 
economic  and  moral  strain.  Thus  we  find  here,  as  is 
apparently  true  in  Prance,  Italy  and  Germany,  increasing 
crime  and  decreasing  illiteracy  as  concurrent  phenomena 
rather  than  as  cause  and  effect.  However  the  rapid 
increase  of  intelligence  in  Negro  convicts  does  point  to 
some  grave  social  changes :  first,  a  large  number  of  young 


Sect.  39.]  A  Special  Study  in  Crime. 


255 


Negroes  are  in  such  environment  that  they  find  it  easier  to 
be  rogues  than  honest  men  ;  secondly,  there  is  evidence  of 
the  rise  of  more  intelligent  and  therefore  more  dangerous 
crime  from  a  trained  criminal  class,  quite  different  from 
the  thoughtless,  ignorant  crime  of  the  mass  of  Negroes. 

A  separation  of  criminals  according  to  sex  and  age  and 
the  kind  of  crime  is  of  interest.    (See  p.  256  for  males.) 
CRIMINATE  IN  EASTERN 


PENITENTIARY.—  -FEMALES,  BY  AGE 
AND  CRIME. 


CriE 

aes. 

Ages. 

I^arceny. 

Assault  and 
Battery. 

Aggravated 
Assault. 

Assault  to  Kill. 

Murder. 

Bawdy  and 
Disorderly 
Houses. 

Accessory  to 
Murder. 

Abduction. 

IC-IQ      

5 

20—24 

10 

I 

- 

2 

I 

25-29      .... 
^O-^d      

ii 
•z 

I 

I 

I 

j 

-2C—  -2Q         .              .       . 

j 

4O-44.         

I 

45-49     -   - 

i 

.    . 

.    - 

The  women  are  nearly  all  committed  for  stealing  and 
fighting.  They  are  generally  prostitutes  from  the  worst 
slums.  The  boys  of  fifteen  to  nineteen  are  sentenced 
largely  for  petty  thieving : 

Whole  number  of  male  convicts,  15-19  years  of  age  .   .      53 

Convicted  for  larceny 27 

"    assault  and  fighting 8 

"          "    sexual  crimes 5 

"    burglary 5 

"          "    other  crimes 8 

—    53 
Making  a  similar  table  for  two  other  age  periods  we  have  : 

Men,  25-29  Years. 


Men,  20-24  Years, 

Larceny 62 

Assault  .    ,    , 41 

Burglary  and  robbery   ....  30 

Sexual  crimes 6 

Other  crimes 14 


153 


Larceny 45 

Assault 33 

Burglary  and  robbery   ....  22 

Sexual  crimes . 13 

Homicide 4 

Other  crimes 3 

119 


256 


The  Negro  Criminal  [Chap.  XIIL 


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Sect.  39.]          A  Special  Study  in  Crime. 


157 


There  is  here  revealed  no  especial  peculiarity:  stealing 
and  fighting  are  ever  the  besetting  sins  of  half-developed 
races. 

It  would  be  very  instructive  to  know  how  many  of  the 
541  criminals  had  been  in  the  hands  of  the  law  before. 
This  is  however  very  difficult  to  ascertain  correctly  since 
in  many,  if  not  the  majority  of  cases,  the  word  of  the 
prisoner  must  be  taken.  Even  these  methods  however 
reveal  the  startling  fact  that  only  315  or  58  per  cent  of 
these  541  convicts  are  reported  as  being  incarcerated  for 
the  first  time.  226  or  42  per  cent  can  be  classed  as 
habitual  criminals,  who  have  been  convicted  as  follows  : 


Twice     .                     -   -    -                         Tnc 

46.5  per 
26.5 

II.O 

8.0 
4.0 
1.8 

•       2.2 

cent. 

c 

I 
I 

< 

( 

Three  tin 
Four 
Five 
Six 
Seven 
Nine 
Ten 
Eleven 
Twelve 

ies  60 

.    .    .     .    .    24 

.    .    .    .                   ,    .                   .10 

A 

I    -i 

....                 ,           I 

...                     ....          2 

I    ^ 

226      loo  per  cent. 

When  we  realize  that  probably  a  large  number  of  the 
other  convicts  are  on  their  second  or  third  term  we  begin 
to  get  an  idea  of  the  real  Negro  criminal  class.19 


19  The  following  Negroes  were  measured  by  the  Bertillon  system  in? 
Philadelphia  during  the  last  three  years: 

1893 64  (Whites  101). 

1894 66  (Whites  248). 

1895 56  (Whites  267). 

1896 75  (Whites  347). 

The  arrests  by  detectives  for  five  years  are  given  on  the  following- 
page  (258). 


258 


The  Negro  Criminal. 


[Chap.  XIII. 


A  few  other  facts  are  of  interest:  if  we  tabulate  crime 
according  to  the  illiteracy  of  its  perpetrators,  we  have : 

Larceny 31  per  cent  of  illiteracy. 

Assault,  burglary  and  homicide  .   .34        "        £t        " 
Sexual  crimes   . 55        "        "        " 

Or  in  other  words,  the  more  serious  and  revolting  the 
crime  the  larger  part  does  ignorance  play  as  a  cause.  If 
we  separate  prisoners  convicted  for  the  above  crimes 
according  to  length  of  sentence,  we  have : 

Under  five  years 464    90.5  per  cent. 

Five  and  under  ten  years 40      8.0        " 

Ten  years  and  over 9      1.5        <f 

513 
Of  the  49  sentenced  for  5  years  and  over,  18  or  37  per 


CRIMES  OF  NEGROES  ARRESTED  BY  DETECTIVES,  1878-1892. 


CRIMES. 

1887. 

18S8. 

1889. 

1890. 

1891. 

1892. 

Fugitives  from  justice    .... 

IO 

2 

A 

/J. 

X/arceny  

10 

IQ 

17 

IO 

18 

2Q 

7 

A 

I 

•*y 

T7 

2 

2 

Professional  thief     ...... 

I 

A 

2 

I 

2 

Sodomy  

I 

Misdemeanor        .   »   .           .   . 

I 

J 

T 

Absconding  

. 

I 

Assault  to  kill              .    . 

6 

I 

J 

Stabbing     

J 

False  pretense  

2 

I 

J 

Forgery  

J 

Receiving  stolen  goods  .... 
Murder    »  .   .   . 

I 

4 

2 

8 
i 

3 

2 

Abortion    

J 

j 

. 

Breach  of  peace  ,   

2 

Abandonment  

i 

I 

Gambling  house  

Fornication  and  adultery  .   .   . 

i 

Infanticide     . 

I 

House  robbery  

I 

Lottery  

I 

8 

Embezzlement  

i 

Perjury  

i 

Seduction  .....       ... 

I 

Bawdv  house     

I 

Sect.  40.]  Some  Cases  of  Crime.  259 

cent  were  illiterate;  of  those  sentenced  for  less  than  5 
years,  1 60  or  35  per  cent  were  illiterate. 

From  this  study  we  may  conclude  that  young  men  are 
the  perpetrators  of  the  serious  crime  among  Negroes ;  that 
this  crime  consists  mainly  of  stealing  and  assault ;  that 
ignorance,  and  immigration  to  the  temptations  of  city  life, 
are  responsible  for  much  of  this  crime  but  not  for  all ;  that 
deep  social  causes  underlie  this  prevalence  of  crime  and 
they  have  so  worked  as  to  form  among  Negroes  since  1864 
a  distinct  class  of  habitual  criminals  ;  that  to  this  criminal 
class  and  not  to  the  great  mass  of  Negroes  the  bulk  of  the 
serious  crime  perpetrated  by  this  race  should  be  charged. 

40.  Some  Cases  of  Crime. — It  is  difficult  while  studying 
crime  in  the  abstract  to  realize  just  what  the  actual  crimes 
committed  are,  and  under  what  circumstances  they  take 
place.  A  few  typical  cases  of  the  crimes  of  Negroes  may 
serve  to  give  a  more  vivid  idea  than  the  abstract  statistics 
give.  Most  of  these  cases  are  quoted  from  the  daily  news 
papers. 

First  let  us  take  a  coupk  of  cases  of  larceny: 

Bdward  Ashbridge,  a  colored  boy,  pleaded  guilty  to  the  larceny  of  a 
quart  of  milk,  the  property  of  George  Abbott.  The  boy's  mother  said 
he  was  incorrigible,  and  he  was  committed  to  the  House  of  Refuge. 

William  Drumgoole,  colored,  aged  thirty-one  years,  of  Lawrenceville, 
Va.,  was  shot  in  the  back  and  probably  fatally  wounded  late  yesterday 
afternoon  by  William  H.  McCalley,  a  detective,  employed  in  the  store  of 
John  Wanamaker,  Thirteenth  and  Chestnut  streets.  Drumgoole,  it  is 
alleged,  stole  a  pair  of  shoes  from  the  store,  and  was  followed  by 
McCalley  to  the  corner  of  Thirteenth  and  Chestnut  streets,  where  he 
placed  him  under  arrest.  Drumgoole  broke  away  from  the  detective's 
grasp,  and  running  down  Thirteenth  street  turned  into  Drury 
street,  a  small  thoroughfare  above  Sansom  street.  McCalley  started  in 
pursuit,  calling  upon  him  to  stop,  but  the  fugitive  darted  into  an  alley 
way,  and  when  his  pursuer  came  up  within  a  few  yards  of  him,  he 
threatened  to  "  do  him  up >J  if  he  followed  him  any  further.  McCalley 
drew  his  revolver  from  his  pocket,  and  as  Drnmgoole  again  broke  into  a 
run  he  pointed  the  weapon  at  his  legs  and  fired.  Drumgoole  fell  to  the 
ground,  and  when  McCalley  came  up  to  him  he  was  unable  to  rise. 
McCalley  saw  at  a  glance  that,  instead  of  wounding  him  in  the  leg,  as  he 
had  intended,  the  bullet  had  lodged  in  the  man's  back.  He  hurriedly 


260  The  Negro  Criminal.  [Chap.  XIII. 

sought  assistance,  and  had  the  wounded  man  taken  to  the  Jefferson 
Hospital.  McCalley  then  surrendered  himself  to  Reserve  Policeman 
Powell,  and  was  taken  to  the  Central  Station. 

Fighting  and  quarreling  among  neighbors  and  associates 
is  common  in  the  slum  districts  : 

Etta  Jones,  colored,  aged  twenty-one  years,  residing  on  Hirst  street, 
above  Fifth,  was  stabbed  near  her  home  last  night,  it  is  alleged,  by  I^ottie 
Iree,  also  colored,  of  Second  and  Race  streets.  The  other  woman  was 
taken  to  the  Pennsylvania  Hospital,  where  her  injuries  were  found  to 
consist  of  several  cuts  on  the  left  shoulder  and  side,  none  of  which  are 
dangerous.  Her  assailant  was  arrested  later  by  Policeman  Dean  and 
locked  up  in  the  Third  and  Union  streets  station  house.  The  assault  is. 
said  by  the  police  to  have  been  the  outcome  of  an  old  grudge. 

Joseph  Cole,  colored,  aged  twenty-four  years,  residing  in  Gillis'  alley, 
was  dangerously  stabbed  shortly  before  midnight  on  Saturday,  as  is 
alleged,  by  Abraham  Wheeler,  at  the  latter's  house,  on  Hirst  street.  Cole 
was  taken  to  the  Pennsylvania  Hospital,  where  it  was  found  the  knife 
had  penetrated  to  within  a  short  distance  of  the  right  lung.  Wheeler  fled 
from  the  house  after  the  cutting  and  eluded  arrest  until  yesterday  after 
noon,  when  he  was  captured  by  Policeman  Mitchell,  near  Fifth  and 
Lombard  streets.  When  brought  to  the  station  house  Wheeler  denied 
having  cut  Cole,  but  acknowledged  having  struck  him  because  he  was 
insulting  his  wife.  He  was  locked  up,  however,  to  await  the  result  of 
Cole's  injuries. 

Sometimes  servants  are  caught  pilfering: 

Theodore  Grant,  colored,  residing  on  Burton  street,  attempted  to 
pledge  a  woman's  silk  dress  for  $15  at  McFillen's,  Seventeenth  and 
Market  streets,  several  days  ago.  The  pawnbroker  refused,  under  his 
rule,  to  take  women's  raiment  from  a  man,  and  told  Grant  to  bring  the 
owner.  Grant  went  away  and  returned  with  Ella  Jones,  a  young  colored 
woman,  who  consented  to  take  $7  for  the  dress.  Since  that  time  C.  F. 
Robertson,  residing  at  Sixtieth  and  Spruce  streets,  made  complaint  to  the 
police  of  the  loss  of  the  dress,  and  as  the  result  of  an  investigation  made 
by  Special  Policemen  Gallagher  and  Ewing,  Grant  and  Ella  Jones  were 
arrested  yesterday  charged  with,  the  larceny  of  the  silk  dress,  which  was 
recovered.  Grant  admitted  to  the  special  policemen  that  Ella  had  given 
him  the  dress  to  pawn,  but  asserted  that  he  had  nothing  to  do  with  the 
matter  except  to  offer  to  pledge  the  article.  At  a  hearing  before  Magis 
trate  Jermon,  at  the  City  Hall,  yesterday,  Mr.  Robertson  stated  that  the 
girl  had  made  a  statement  to  him,  saying  that  Grant  had  induced  her  to 
take  the  dress.  He  said  the  girl  had  been  perfectly  trustworthy  up  to  the 
time  of  her  acquaintance  with  Grant,  and  had  been  left  in  full  charge  of 
the  house,  and  that  nothing  was  ever  missed.  He  said  he  also  expected 


Sect.  40.]  Some  Cases  of  Crime.  261 

to  show  that  Grant  had  been  concerned  in  two  or  three  robberies.  Ella 
Jones,  a  neatly  dressed  girl,  who  said  she  came  from  Maryland,  stated  to 
the  magistrate  that  Grant  had  been  coming  to  see  her  for  about  a  year 
past.  She  said  he  had  been  importuning  her  to  take  something  and  let 
him  pawn  it,  so  that  he  could  raise  some  money,  until  she  finally  consented. 
After  she  started  to  go  to  her  mistress'  room  to  get  the  dress  her  heart 
failed  and  she  turned  back,  but  he  persuaded  her,  telling  her  that  Mrs. 
Robertson  would  not  miss  it,  and  then  she  took  the  dress.  Mr.  Robertson 
informed  the  magistrate,  and  Ella  assented  to  the  statement,  that  Grant 
had  taken  every  cent  of  her  earnings  from  her  for  weeks  past  and  had  also 
pawned  all  of  her  clothing,  so  that  at  the  present  time  she  was  penniless 
and  had  not  a  single  garment  except  what  she  wore.  The  magistrate  said 
it  was  undoubtedly  a  hard  case,  but  he  would  have  to  hold  Grant  and  Ella 
on  the  charge  of  larceny,  and  Grant  under  additional  bail  for  a  further 
hearing  next  Thursday  on  the  charges  referred  to  by  Mr.  Robertson.  The 
police  say  that  Grant,  who  is  a  smooth-faced,  cross-eyed  mulatto,  is  a 
"  crap  fiend,'*  and  that  whatever  money  he  has  managed  to  obtain  by 
threats  and  cajolery  from  his  victim,  Ella  Jones,  has  gone  into  the  pockets 
of  the  small-fry  gamblers. 

There  is  growing  evidence  of  the  appearance  of  a  set 
of  thieves  of  intelligence  and  cunning:  sneak  thieves, 
confidence-men,  pickpockets,  and  "sharpers."  Some  typi 
cal  cases  follow : 

Marion  Shields  and  Alice  Hofiinan,  both  colored  and  residing  on 
Fitzwater  street,  above  Twelfth,  had  a  further  hearing  yesterday  before 
Magistrate  South,  at  the  City  Hall,  and  were  held  for  trial  on  the  charge 
of  pilfering  wearing  apparel,  money,  vases,  umbrellas,  surgical  instru 
ments,  and  other  portable  property  from  physicians*  offices  and  houses, 
where  they  had  made  visits,  under  the  pretence  of  desiring  to  hold 
consultations  with  the  doctors.  The  Magistrate  said  there  were  ten 
cases  against  Marion  Shields  individually  on  which  she  would  be  placed 
under  $2500  bail,  and  six  cases  against  both  women  on  which  the  bail 
would  be  $1500.  For  her  frankness,  Marion  Shields  was  given  the  lighter 
sentence,  one  year  in  the  Eastern  Penitentiary,  and  Alice  Hoffman  was 
sentenced  to  eighteen  months  in  the  same  institution. 

Two  daring  thieves  yesterday  entered  the  jewelry  store  of  Albert 
Baudschopfs  ,  468^  North  Eighth  street,  and  secured  a  number  of 
articles  of  jewelry  from  under  the  very  eyes  of  the  proprietor.  They 
had  left  the  store  and  proceeded  leisurely  down  the  street  before  the 
jeweller  discovered  his  loss,  with  the  result  that  before  an  alarm,  could  be 
given  the  thieves  had  traveled  a  considerable  distance.  One  of  the  men 
was  captured  after  a  long  chase,  but  the  other's  whereabouts  is  unknown. 
About  half-past  one  o'clock  two  colored  men  entered  the  store  and  upon 
their  request  were  shown  trays  of  various  articles.  One  of  the  men 
engaged  the  proprietor  in  conversation  while  the  other  continued  to 


262  The  Negro  Criminal.  [Chap.  XIII. 

inspect  the  jewelry.  They  said  they  did  not  intend  buying  then  and 
would  call  again  and  opening  the  door  walked  hurriedly  down  the  street. 
Mr.  Baudschopfs  says  the  men  got  away  with  a  gold-filled  watch  case,  a 
silver  watch,  three  gold  lockets,  each  set  with  a  small  diamond ;  two 
dozen  ladies*  gold  rings,  not  jewelled;  a  gold  scarf  pin  and  a  man's  gold 
watch. 

A  crime  for  which  Negroes  of  a  certain  class  have 
become  notorious  is  that  of  snatching  pocketbooks  on  the 
streets : 

While  passing  down  Eleventh  street,  near  Mount  Vernon,  shortly  after 
nine  o'clock,  Mrs.  K.  Nichun,  of  1947  Waruock  street,  was  approached 
from  behind  by  a  Negro,  who  snatched  a  pocketbook  containing  $2  from 
her  hand  and  ran  down  a  small  thoroughfare  towards  Tenth  street.  Very 
few  pedestrians  were  upon  the  street  at  the  time,  but  two  men,  who  were 
attracted  by  the  woman's  scream,  started  in  pursuit  of  the  thief.  The 
latter  had  too  much  of  a  start,  however,  and  escaped. 

William  Williams,  colored,  of  Dayton,  OM  was  locked  up  in  the  Cen 
tral  Station  yesterday,  by  Reserve  Policeman  A,  Jones,  on  the  charge  of 
snatching  a  pocketbook  from  the  hands  of  Mrs.  Mary  Tevis,  of  141 
Mifflin  street.  The  theft  occurred  at  Eighth  and  Market  streets.  After 
securing  the  pocketbook  Williams  ran  until  he  reached  the  old  office  of 
the  city  solicitor,  at  Sixth  and  Locust  streets.  He  was  followed  by 
Reserve  Jones,  who  captured  him  in  the  cellar  of  the  building.  Williams 
was  taken  to  Eighth  and  Sansom  streets  to  await  the  arrival  of  the  patrol 
wagon,  and  while  getting  into  the  vehicle  the  pocketbook  dropped  from 
out  of  his  trousers. 

Detectives  Bond  and  O'Leary  and  Special  Policeman  Duffy,  of  the 
Eighth  and  Lombard  streets  station,  arrested  last  night  Sylvester  Archer, 
of  Fifth  street,  below  Lombard,  William  Whittington,  alias  "  Piggy,"  of 
Florida  street,  and  William  Carter,  of  South  Fifteenth  street,  all  colored 
and  about  twenty-one  years  of  age,  on  the  charge  of  assault  upon  and 
robbery  of  Mrs.  Harrington  Fitzgerald,  wife  of  the  editor  of  the  Evening 
Item-.  The  assault  occurred  on  Monday  at  noon.  As  Mrs.  Fitzgerald 
was  passing  Thirteenth  and  Spruce  streets,  a  purse  which  she  carried  in 
her  hand,  and  which  contained  $20,  was  snatched  from  her  by  one  of 
three  colored  men.  They  took  advantage  of  the  crowd  to  strike  her  after 
the  robbery  had  been  perpetrated  and  escaped  before  her  outcry  was 
heard.  When  the  men  were  brought  to  the  Central  Station  last  night 
and  questioned  by  Captain  of  Detectives  Miller,  Whittington,  it  is  said, 
confessed  complicity  in  the  crime.  He  told  the  captain  that  they  had 
been  following  a  band  up  Thirteenth  street,  and  as  they  reached  Spruce 
street  Carter  said,  "  There's  a  pocketbook;  I'm  going  to  get  it."  "All 
right;  get  it,*'  came  the  response.  Carter  ran  up  to  Mrs.  Fitzgerald  and 
and  in  a  moment  shouted,  "I've  got  it !  "  Then  he  and  Archer  ran  up 
Thirteenth  street.  Each  man  has  a  criminal  record,  and  the  picture  of 


Sect  40*]  Some  Cases  of  Crime.  263 

each  is  in  the  Rogues'  Gallery.  Carter  has  just  completed  a  six  months' 
sentence  for  purse-snatching,  while  Williams  and  Archer  have  each  served 
time  for  larceny. 

So  frequent  have  these  crimes  become  that  sometimes 
Negroes  are  wrongfully  suspected;  whoever  snatches  a 
pocketbook  on  a  dark  night  is  supposed  to  be  black. 

A  favorite  method  of  stealing  is  to  waylay  and  rob  the 
frequenters  of  bawdy  houses ;  very  little  of  this  sort  of 
crime,  naturally,  is  reported.  Here  are  some  cases  of  such 
"  badger  thieves,"  as  they  are  called : 

William  Lee,  colored,  and  Kate  Hughes,  a  white  woman,  were  con 
victed  of  robbing  Vincenzo  Monacello  of  Jio.  Lee  was  sentenced  to  three 
years  and  three  months  in  the  Eastern  Penitentiary  and  his  accomplice 
to  three  years  in  the  county  prison.  Mary  Roach,  jointly  indicted  with 
them,  was  acquitted.  Monacello  testified  that,  while  walking  along 
Christian  street,  between  Eighth  and  Ninth  streets,  on  Thursday  night 
of  last  week,  he  was  accosted  by  Mary  Roach  and  accompanied  her  to 
her  home  on  Essex  street.  Here  he  met  Lee  and  Kate  Hughes  and 
they  all  drank  considerable  beer.  Later  in  the  night  he  started  with 
Kate  Hughes,  at  her  suggestion,  to  a  house  further  up  the  street  While 
on  their  way  the  prosecutor  said  he  was  struck  in  the  face  with  a  brick 
by  Lee,  after  which  the  money  was  stolen  from  him.  Mary  Roach  took 
the  stand  against  the  other  two  defendants  and  the  case  against  her  was 
abandoned. 

Ella  Jones,  colored,  claiming  to  be  from  Baltimore,  was  arrested  yes 
terday  by  Policeman  Dean  on  the  charge  of  the  larceny  of  a  Jio  bill  from 
Joseph  Gosch,  a  Pole,  who  came  from  Pittsburg  on  Sunday,  and  claims 
that  while  he  was  looking  for  lodging  he  was  taken  to  the  woman's  house 
and  robbed. 

From  pocketbook  snatching  to  highway  robbery  is  but 
a  step  : 

Before  Judge  Yerkes,  in  Court  No.  I,  Samuel  Buckner,  a  young  colored 
man,  was  convicted  of  robbing  George  C.  Goddard  of  a  gold  watch  and 
chain  and  a  pocketbook  containing  $ 3.  He  was  sentenced  to  ten  years 
in  the  Eastern  Penitentiary.  Mr.  Goddard,  with  his  head  swathed  in 
bandages,  was  called  to  the  stand.  He  said  that  a  few  minutes  past  mid 
night  of  November  28  he  was  returning  to  his  home,  No.  1220  Spruce 
street,  after  a  visit.  He  placed  his  hand  in  his  pocket,  drew  out  his  key 
and  was  about  to  mount  the  steps  when  a  dark  form  appeared  from  Bean 
street,  a  small,  poorly-lighted  thoroughfare,  next  door  but  one  to  his 
home,  and  at  the  same  instant  he  was  struck  a  violent  blow  full  in  the 


364  The  Negro  Criminal.  [Chap.  XIII. 

face  with  a  brick.  He  sank  to  the  pavement  unconscious.  When  he 
recovered  his  senses  he  was  in  the  Pennsylvania  Hospital.  There  was  a 
long,  deep  cut  on  his  right  cheek,  another  across  the  forehead,  both  eyes 
were  blackened  and  swollen,  and  his  nose  was  also  bruised.  At  the  same 
time  he  discovered  the  loss  of  his  pocketbook  and  jewelry.  Judge  Yerkes 
reviewed  the  facts  of  the  case,  and  in  imposing  sentence  said:  "  When  you 
committed  this  offence  you  were  absolutely  indifferent  as  to  the  conse 
quences  of  your  cowardly  attack.  You  rifled  this  man's  person  of  all  his 
valuables  and  left  him  lying  unconscious  on  the  pavement,  and  for  aught 
you  knew  he  might  have  been  dead.  It  is  necessary  not  only  that  society 
be  protected  from  the  depredations  of  such  fiends  as  you,  but  also  that  an 
example  be  made  of  such  ruffians.  The  sentence  of  the  Court  is  that  you 
undergo  an  imprisonment  of  ten  years  at  labor  in  the  Eastern  Peniten 
tiary,  and  stand  committed  until  this  sentence  shall  be  complied  with." 
The  official  record  shows  that  Buckner  was  arrested  on  December  n, 
l893>  by  policeman  Logan,  of  the  Lombard  street  station,  on  the  charge 
of  the  larceny  of  a  purse  from  Mrs.  Caroline  Lodge,  of  2416  North 
Fifteenth  street,  on  the  street,  and  was  sentenced  December  14,  1893,  by 
Judge  Biddle,  to  one  year's  imprisonment. 

Cases  of  aggravated   assaults,  for  various   reasons,  are 
frequent : 

Rube  Warren,  colored,  thirty  years,  of  Foulkrod  and  Cedar  streets, 
was  held  in  Jiooo  bonds,  by  Magistrate  Eisenbrown,  for  an  alleged  aggra 
vated  assault  and  battery  on  Policeman  Haug,  of  the  Frank  ford  sta 
tion,  during  a  dog  fight  about  a  month  ago.  The  policeman  attempted  to 
stop  the  fight  when  Warren,  it  is  charged,  assisted  by  several  compan 
ions,  assaulted  him,  broke  his  club  and  took  away  his  revolver.  During 
the  free  fight  that  followed,  in  which  other  policemen  took  part,  Warren 
escaped  and  went  to  Baltimore.  There,  it  is  said,  he  was  sent  to  prison 
for  thirty  days.  As  soon  as  he  was  released  he  went  back  to  Frankford, 
where  he  was  arrested  on  Saturday  night. 

William  Braxton,  colored,  aged  twenty-eight  years,  of  Irving  street, 
above  Thirty-seventh,  was  yesterday  held  in  $800  bail  for  a  further  hear 
ing,  charged  with  having  committed  an  aggravated  assault  on  William 
Keebler,  of  South  Thirtieth  street.  The  assault  occurred  about  three 
o'clock  yesterday  morning  on  Irving  street,  near  Thirty-seventh,  where 
the  colored  folks  of  the  neighborhood  were  having  a  party.  Keebler  and 
two  friends,  none  of  whom  were  colored,  forced  their  company  on  the 
invited  guests,  it  is  said,  and  a  fight  ensued.  Keebler  was  found  a  short 
time  afterward  lying  in  the  snow  with  one  eye  almost  gouged  out.  He 
was  conveyed  to  the  University  Hospital  and  the  police  of  the  Woodland 
avenue  station,  under  Acting  Sergeant  Ward,  upon  being  notified  of  the 
affair,  hurried  to  the  Irving  street  house  and  arrested  twenty  of  the  guests 
just  in  the  height  of  their  merrymaking.  All  of  them,  however,  were 
•discharged  at  the  hearing,  upon  Braxton's  being  recognized  as  the  man 


Sect.  40.]  Some  Cases  oj  Crime.  265 

who  struck  Keebler.    The  physician  at  the  hospital  says  that  the  injured 
man  will  very  likely  lose  the  sight  of  one  eye. 

Gambling  goes  on  almost  openly  in  the  slum  sections 
and  occasions,  perhaps,  more  quarreling  and  crime  than 
any  other  single  cause.  Reporters  declared  in  1897 


"  Policy  playing  is  rampant  in  Philadelphia.  Under  the  very  noses  of 
the  police  officials  and,  it  is  safe  to  say,  with  the  knowledge  of  some  of 
them,  policy  shops  are  conducted  openly  and  with  amazing  audacity. 
They  are  doing  a  '  land  office  '  business.  Hundreds  of  poor  people  every 
day  place  upon  the  infatuating  lottery  money  that  had  better  be  spent  for 
food  and  clothing.  They  actually  deny  themselves  the  necessaries  of  life 
to  gamble  away  their  meagre  income  with  small  chance  of  getting  any 
return.  Superintendent  of  Police  Linden,  discussing  the  general  subject 
of  policy  playing  with  a  Ledger  reporter,  said:  *  There  are  not  words 
enough  in  the  dictionary  to  express  my  feelings  upon  this  matter.  I 
regard  policy  as  the  worst  evil  in  a  large  city  among  the  poor  people. 
There  are  several  reasons  for  this.  One  is  that  women  and  children  may 
play.  Another  is  that  players  may  put  a  few  cents  on  the  lottery.  Policy 
may  do  more  harm  than  all  the  saloons  and  lt  speak  easies  J>  in  the  city. 
The  price  of  a  drink  of  liquor  is  five  or  ten  cents  and  the  cost  of  a 
"  growler  '  *  is  ten  cents,  but  a  man  or  a  woman  can  buy  two  cents'  worth 
of  policy.  The  effect  of  this  is  obvious.  Persons  who  have  not  the  price 
of  a  drink  may  gamble  away  the  few  pennies  they  do  possess  in  a  policy 
shop.  Then  the  drain  is  constant.  Policy  "fiends"  play  twice  a  day,  risk 
ing  from  two  cents  to  a  dollar  upon  the  chance.  They  become  so  infatu 
ated  with  the  play  that  they  will  spend  their  last  cent  upon  it  in  the  hope 
of  making  a  "  hit."  Many  children  go  hungry  and  with  insufficient  cloth 
ing  as  a  result  of  policy  playing.  I  have  heard  of  young  children  engag 
ing  in  this  sort  of  gambling.  Of  course  the  effect  of  this  is  very  bad.  The 
policy  evil  is,  to  my  mind,  the  very  worst  that  exists  in  our  large  cities  as 
affecting  the  poorer  classes  of  people/  *'  *° 


20  Although  the  police  lieutenants  have  reported  to  the  Superinten 
dent  that  few  policy  shops  exist,  the  Ledger  has  information  which  leads 
it  to  state  that  such  is  not  the  fact.  Many  complaints  against  the  evil 
nave  been  received  at  this  office.  A  reporter  found  it  easy  to  locate  and 
gain  admittance  to  a  number  of  houses  where  policy  is  written.  A  policy 
writer  who  is  thoroughly  informed  as  to  the  inside  working  of  the  system 
is  authority  for  the  statement  that  at  no  time  in  recent  years  has  policy 
playing  been  so  prevalent  or  the  business  carried  on  as  openly  as  it  is  now. 

While  the  locations  of  the  policy  shops  are  well  known  and  the  writers 
familiar  to  many  persons,  the  backers,  who,  after  all,  are  the  substantial 
part  of  the  system,  are  hard  to  reach,  for  they  exercise  an  unusual  cun 
ning  in  the  direction  of  the  business.  There  are  several  backers  in 


266  The  Negro  Criminal  [Chap.  XIII. 

Once  in  a  while  gambling  houses  are  raided: 

Twenty-three  colored  men,  who  were  arrested  in  a  raid  of  the  police 
on  an  alleged  gambling  house,  on  Rodman  street,  above  Twelfth,  had 

Philadelphia  of  greater  or  less  pretensions,  but  a  young  man  who  resides- 
uptown  and  operates  principally  in  the  territory  north  of  Girard  avenue, 
is  said  to  be  the  heaviest  backer  of  the  game  in  this  city.  He  owns  sixty 
or  seventy  "books, "and  his  income  from  their  combined  receipts  is 
sufficient  to  support  himself  and  several  relatives  in  magnificent  style. 

A  Ledger  reporter  spent  one  day  last  week  looking  up  the  policy  shops 
in  one  of  the  sections  where  this  backer  operates.  He  found,  in  addition 
to  several  places  where  policy  is  written,  the  rendezvous  of  the  writers 
and  the  headquarters  of  the  policy  king  himself. 

The  writers  who  hold  "books"  from  the  backer  in  question  meet 
twice  every  day,  Sundays  excepted,  in  a  mean,  dirty  little  house  over 
looking  the  Reading  tracks,  just  below  Montgomery  avenue.  They 
enter  by  the  rear  through  a  narrow  alley  leading  off  Delhi  street,  several 
yards  below  Montgomery  avenue.  At  noon  and  at  6  o'clock  in  the  eve 
ning  the  writers  hurry  to  this  rendezvous. 

The  unusual  number  of  men  gathering  at  this  point  at  regular  inter 
vals,  and  the  business-like  manner  in  which  they  go  through  the  alley 
and  back  gate  is  enough  to  attract  the  attention  of  the  Twelfth  District 
policeman  on  this  beat  and  arouse  his  suspicions.  Whether  he  notices  it 
or  not,  these  proceedings  have  been  going  on  for  months. 

Each  writer,  when  he  reaches  this  central  point,  turns  in  his  "book  " 
and  receipts.  There  are  two  drawings  daily,  hence  the  two  meetings. 
Two  relatives  of  the  backer  receive  the  u books"  and  the  money.  A 
copy  of  each  writer's  "  book  "  and  all  the  money  are  carried  by  one  of 
these  men  to  the  house  of  an  ex-special  policeman,  a  few  squares  away, 
and  there  turned  over  to  the  backer,  who  has  received  a  telegram  from 
Cincinnati  stating  the  numbers  that  have  come  out  at  that  drawing. 

The  "books"  are  carefully  gone  over,  to  see  if  there  are  any  <c  hits." 
If  there  are  they  are  computed,  and  the  backer  sends  to  each  writer  the 
amount  necessary  to  pay  his  losses.  The  numbers  that  appear  at  each 
drawing  are  printed  with  rubber  stamps  in  red  ink,  on  slips  of  white 
paper  and  given  to  the  writers  to  distribute  among  the  players. 

These  drawings  are  usually  carried  to  the  rendezvous  by  the  ex-police 
man.  The  backer  pockets  the  half  day's  receipts,  mounts  his  bicycle 
and  rides  away. 

To  establish  beyond  a  doubt  the  character  of  the  building  in  which 
the  writers  meet,  the  reporter  made  his  way  into  it  on  the  afternoon  in 
question.  It  is  a  well-known  policy  shop,  conducted  by  a  colored  man, 
who  has  been  writing  policy  for  years.  He  is  president  of  a  colored 
political  club,  with  headquarters  near  by.  On  the  occasion  of  the  visit 
the  back  gate  was  ajar.  Pushing  it  open,  the  reporter  walked  in  without 
challenge. — From  the  Public  Ledger,  December  3,  1897. 


Sect.  40.]  Some  Cases  of  Crime.  267 

a  hearing  yesterday,  before  Magistrate  South,  at  the  City  HalL  One  man* 
residing  on  Griscom  street,  testified  that  the  house  was  supposed  to  be  a 
"club,"  and  that  it  was  customary  to  pay  a  dollar  before  admission  could 
be  secured,  and  that  he  had  been  gambling  at  "crap  "  and  a  card  game 
known  as  "  five-up,"  and  had  lost  £18.  He  said  there  was  a  president, 
marshal  and  sergeant-at-arms.  He  pointed  out  Boiling,  Jordan  and 
Phillips  as  the  principals.  Special  Policeman  Duffy  testified  that  the 
crowd  was  playing  "crap"  with  dice  on  the  floor  when  he  headed  the 
raid  on  Monday  night.  He  said  he  had  notified  Boiling,  as  the  head  of 
the  house,  three  months  ago,  when  he  had  heard  that  gambling  was  going 
on  there,  to  stop  it.  On  cross-examination  the  witness  said  he  did  not 
know  that  it  was  a  social  club  called  the  "  Workingmen's  Club/*  Patrol 
man  William  Harvey  testified  that  he  went  to  the  house  on  last  Saturday 
night  and  got  in  readily,  and  was  not  called  on  to  pay  a  dollar  initiation 
fee,  as  had  been  claimed  was  the  rule.  He  said  he  played  '*  sweat  "  and 
lost  twenty-five  cents,  but  did  not  win  anything.  He  said  Boiling  was- 
running  the  game.  He  said  that  when  he  entered  the  house  somebody 
called  out  "  Sam's  got  a  new  man,"  and  that  was  all  that  was  said. 

More  and  more  frequently  in  the  last  few  years,  have 
crime,  excess,  and  disappointment  led  to  attempted 
suicide  : 

Policeman  Wynne,  of  the  Fifth  and  Race  streets  station,  last  evening 
found  an  unknown  colored  woman  lying  unconscious  in  an  alleyway  at 
Delaware  avenue  and  Race  street.  Beside  the  woman  was  an  empty 
bottle  labeled  benzine.  Wynne  immediately  summoned  the  patrol  wagon 
and  had  the  woman  removed  to  the  Pennsylvania  Hospital,  where  her 
condition  was  said  to  be  critical.  The  physicians  said  there  was  no  doubt 
the  woman  had  drunk  the  contents  of  the  bottle,  and  narcotics  weie  at 
once  administered  to  counteract  the  effect  of  the  poison.  At  midnight 
the  woman  showed  signs  of  returning  consciousness  and  it  was  thought 
that  she  would  recover.  The  police  have  no  clue  to  her  identity,  as  she 
could  not  tell  her  name,  and  the  alleyway  where  she  was  found  is  sur 
rounded  by  business  houses,  and  no  one  could  be  found  who  knew  her. 

It  is  but  fair  to  add  that  many  unsustained  charges  of 
crime  are  made  against  Negroes,  and  possibly  more  in 
proportion  than  against  other  classes.  Some  typical  cases 
of  this  sort  are  of  interest  : 

W.  M.  Boley,  colored,  thirty  years  old,  who  said  he  resided  in  Mayes- 
ville,  South  Carolina,  was  a  defendant  before  Magistrate  Jermon,  at  the 
City  Hall,  yesterday,  on  the  charge  of  assault  with  intent  to  steal. 
Detective  Gallagher  and  Special  Police-man  Thomas  testified  that  their 
attention  was  attracted  to  the  prisoner  by  his  actions  in  a  crowd  at  the 


268  The  Negro   Criminal.  [Chap.  XIII. 

New  York  train  gate  at  Broad  street  station  on  Saturday.  He  had  with 
him  several  parcels  which  he  laid  on  the  floor  near  the  gate,  and  they 
said  they  saw  him  make  several  attempts  to  pick  women's  pockets,  and 
arrested  him.  The  man  however  proved  by  documentary  evidence  that 
he  was  a  clergyman,  a  graduate  of  Howard  University,  and  financial 
agent  of  a  Southern  school.  He  was  released. 

Under  instructions  from  Judge  Finletter,  a  jury  rendered  a  verdict  of 
not  guilty  in  the  case  of  George  Queen,  a  young  colored  man,  charged 
•with  the  murder  of  Joseph  A.  Sweeney  and  John  G.  O'Brien.  Dr. 
Frederick  G.  Coxson,  pastor  of  the  Pitman  Methodist  Episcopal 
Church,  at  Twenty-third  and  Lombard  streets,  testified  that  on  the  night 
in  question  he  was  about  to  retire,  when  he  heard  a  disturbance  on 
•the  street.  Upon  going  out  he  saw  three  young  men,  two  of  whom  were 
leading  the  other  and  persuading  him  to  come  with  them.  At  the 
same  time  the  prisoner,  Queen,  came  along  in  the  middle  of  the  street, 
walking  leisurely.  Immediately  upon  seeing  him  the  three  men  attacked 
him,  and  were  shortly  afterward  joined  by  three  others,  and  the  entire 
crowd,  among  whom  were  Sweeney  and  O'Brien,  continued  beating  and 
striking  the  colored  man.  Suddenly  the  crowd  scattered  and  Queen  was 
placed  under  arrest  ;  he  had  fatally  stabbed  two  of  his  assailants.  This 
testimony  showed  that  the  accused  was  not  the  aggressor,  and  without 
hearing  the  defence  Judge  Finletter  ordered  the  jury  to  render  a  verdict 
of  not  guilty.  The  case,  he  said,  was  one  of  justifiable  homicide,  the 
defendant  having  a  right  to  resist  the  attack  by  force.  The  judge  further 
said  he  thought  the  case  would  have  a  tendency  to  repel  the  brutal  attacks 
made  on  inoffensive  persons  in  the  community,  and  to  make  the  streets 
safe  for  every  man  to  walk  on  at  any  hour  without  fear. 


for  a  moment  the  question  of  the  deeper  social 
causes  of  crime  among  Negroes,  let  us  consider  two  closely 
.allied  subjects,  pauperism  and  the  use  of  alchoholic  liquors. 


CHAPTER  XIV. 

PAUPERISM   AND   ALCOHOLISM. 

41.  Pauperism. — Emancipation  and  pauperism  must 
ever  go  hand  in  hand ;  when  a  group  of  persons  have 
been  for  generations  prohibited  from  self-support,  and  self- 
initiative  in  any  line,  there  is  bound  to  be  a  large  number 
of  them  who,  when  thrown  upon  their  own  resources,  will 
be  found  incapable  of  competing  in  the  race  of  life.  Penn 
sylvania  from  early  times,  when  emancipation  of  slaves  in 
considerable  numbers  first  began,  has  seen  and  feared  this 
problem  of  Negro  poverty.  The  Act  of  1726  declared;- 
"  Whereas  free  Negroes  are  an  idle  and  slothful  people  and 
often  prove  burdensome  to  the  neighborhood  and  afford  ill 
examples  to  other  Negroes,  therefore  be  it  enacted  *  * 

*  *  that  if  any  master  or  mistress  shall  discharge  or 
set  free  any  Negro,  he  or  she  shall  enter  into  recognizance 
with  sufficient  securities  in  the  sum  of  £$o  to  indemnify 
the  county  for  any  charge  or  incumbrance  they  may  brings 
upon  the  same,  in  case  such  Negro  through  sickness  or 
otherwise  be  rendered  incapable  of  self-support." 

The  Acts  of  1780  and  1788  took  pains  to  provide  for  Negro 
paupers  in  the  county  where  they  had  legal  residence,  and 
many  decisions  of  the  courts  bear  upon  this  point.  About 
1820  when  the  final  results  of  the  Act  of  1780  were  being 
felt,  an  act  was  passed  u  To  prevent  the  increase  of  pauper 
ism  in  the  Commonwealth  ; "  it  provided  that  if  a  servant 
was  brought  into  the  state  over  twenty-eight  years  of  age 
(the  age  of  emancipation)  his  master  was  to  be  liable  for 
his  support  in  case  he  became  a  pauper.1 

Thus  we  can  infer  that  much  pauperism  was  prevalent 
among  the  freedmen  during  these  years  although  there  are 

1  See  Appendix  B  for  these  various  laws. 

(269) 


27° 


Pauperism  and  Alcoholism.       [Chap.  XIV. 


no  actual  figures  on  the  subject  In  1837,  235  °f 
1673  Inmates  of  the  Philadelphia  County  Almshouse  were 
Negroes  or  14  per  cent  of  paupers  from  7.4  per  cent  of  the 
population.  These  paupers  were  classed  as  follows  :2 


Males. 

Under  21  years 18 

21  to  50       <c      57 

30  to  75       " .18 

Unknown 13 

106 


Females. 

Under  18  years 33 

181040       "      59 

40  to  60       c '      17 

60               "     and  over    .   .   .  10 

Unknown 10 

129 


Lunatics  and  defective 16  males,    31  females, 

Defective  from  exposure n  "  n       " 

Consumption,  rheumatism,  etc.    ...  9  " 

Pleurisy,  typhus  fever,  etc 12  " 

Destitute 13  " 

Paupers 32  "  35       " 

Unclassed 13     "  28       " 

Women  lying-in,  children  and  orphans,  24      * f 

106  males,  129  females. 

Ten  years  later  there  were  196  Negro  paupers  in  the 
Almshouse,  and  those  receiving  outdoor  relief  were  reported 
as  follows  :3 

In  the  City: 

Of  2562  Negro  families,  320  received  assistance. 
In  Spring  Garden: 

Of  202  Negro  families,  3  received  assistance. 
In  Northern  Liberties: 

Of  272  Negro  families,  6  received  assistance. 
In  Southwark: 

Of  287  Negro  families,  7  received  assistance. 
In  West  Philadelphia: 

Of  73  Negro  families,  2  received  assistance. 
In  Moyamensing: 

Of  866  Negro  families,  104  received  assistance. 
Total,  of  4262  Negro  families,  442  received  assistance,  or  10  per  cent. 


1  "  Condition,"  etc.,  1838. 
su Condition,"  etc.,  1848. 


Sect.  41.] 


Pauperism. 


271 


This  practically  covers  the  available  statistics  of  the  past ; 
it  shows  a  large  amount  of  pauperism  and  yet  perhaps  not 
more  than  could  reasonably  be  expected. 

To-day  it  is  very  difficult  to  get  any  definite  idea  of  the 
extent  of  Negro  poverty ;  there  is  a  vast  amount  of  alms 
giving  in  Philadelphia,  but  much  of  it  is  unsystematic 
and  there  is  much  duplication  of  work;  and,  at  the 
same  time,  so  meagre  are  the  records  kept  that  the 
real  extent  of  pauperism  and  its  causes  are  very  hard  to 
study.4 

The  first  available  figures  are  those  relating  to  lodgers  at 
the  station  houses — i.  £v  persons  without  shelter  who  have 
applied  for  and  been  given  lodging  :5 

1891,  total  lodgers  .   .  13,600,  of  whom  365,  or  2.7  per  cent  were  Negroes. 


1892, 

1 

.  .  11,884, 

345,  or  2.9 

1893, 

c 

.  .20,521, 

'    622,  or  3.0    * 

1894, 

1 

.  .43,726, 

'   1247,  or  2.9    ' 

1895, 

* 

-  .45,788, 

*   2247,  or  4.9    < 

1896, 

t 

.  .46,121, 

'   2359,  or  5.0 

Somewhat  similar  statistics  are  furnished  by  the  report 
of  arrests  by  the  vagrant  detective  for  the  last  ten  years : 


1887.  .  .  total  arrests,  581.  Negroes. 

-55   9-5  per  cent 

1888.  .. 

574- 

. 

.  48   8.4 

1889.  .  . 

588. 

. 

.  36    6.1 

1890  .  .  . 

523- 

.  48   9.1 

1891  .  .  . 

554- 

. 

.  47    8.5 

1892  .  .  . 

505- 

. 

.  65   12.9 

1893  ... 

586. 

. 

.  67   u.o 

1894.  .  . 

688. 

. 

.66   9.6 

1895.  .. 

557- 

. 

.  56   10.0 

1896.  ,  . 

629. 

. 

-  59   9-3 

The  Negro  vagrants  arrested  during  the  last  six  years 
were  thus  disposed  of : 


4  Cf.  The  "Civic  Club  Digest "  for  general  information. 
sFrom  reports  of  police  department.     Many  other  official  reports 
might  be  added  to  these,  but  they  are  easily  accessible. 


272 


Pauperism  and  Alcoholism.       [Chap.  XIV* 


Disposal. 

1891. 

1892. 

1893. 

1894- 

1895- 

1896. 

Given  temporary  shelter   .  .   , 

21 

27 

29 

39 

26 

32 

Transported  from  city    .... 
Arrested  for  vagrancy,  beggary, 

3 

2 

5 

4 

2 

3 

etc   

c 

IO 

4 

4 

2 

5 

Arrested    for  vicious  conduct, 

etc               ...   

15 

IO 

16 

II 

14 

5 

Sent  to  House  of  Refuge  .   .   . 

3 

14 

7 

2 

5 

o 

Sent  to  societies  and  institutions 

o 

2 

6 

6 

7 

13 

These  records  give  a  vague  idea  of  that  class  of  persons 
just  hovering  between  pauperism  and  crime — tramps, 
loafers,  defective  persons  and  unfortunates — a  class  difficult 
to  deal  with  because  made  up  of  diverse  elements. 

Turning  to  the  true  paupers,  we  have  the  record  of  the 
paupers  admitted  to  the  Blockley  Almshouse  during  six 
years: 

ADUI/TS— SIXTEEN  YEARS  OF  AGE  AND  OVER. 


Year. 

Total 
Receptions 

Negroes. 

Per  Cent  of 
Negroes. 

6764 

569 

8.4 

x- 

6231 

537 

8,8 

6451 

567 

8.8 

1801        

6108 

569 

9-3 

Tgnr                                   

6318 

606 

9-3 

1896  

6414 

593 

9.2 

CHILDREN  UNDER  SIXTEEN  YEARS  OF  AGE. 


Year. 

Total 
Receptions 

Negroes. 

Per  Cent  of 
Negroes. 

380 

38 

12.3 

1892                »                

262 

38 

14.5 

295 

38 

12.9 

304 

35 

II.  I 

4OI 

10.5 

1806 

410 

51 

12.4 

In  1891,  4.2  per  cent  of  the  whites  admitted  were 
insane  and  2.3  per  cent  of  the  Negroes;  in  1895, 
8.3  per  cent  of  the  whites  and  8.6  per  cent  of  the 
Negroes : 


Sect  41.] 


Pauperism. 
THE  INSANE. 


273 


Year. 

Whites. 

Negroes. 

Total 
Receptions 

Insane. 

Total 
Receptions 

Insane. 

1891                         

6195 
5694 
5884 
5539 
57*2 

264 

450 

427 

441 
463       , 

569 
537 
567 
569 
606 

13 
45 
39 
38 
52 

1892                  .               

T  gen      

1801      

±<jy+ 
iSqs  

We  have  already  seen  that  in  the  Seventh  Ward  about 
9  per  cent  of  the  Negroes  can  be  classed  as  the  "  very  poor,}> 
needing  public  assistance  in  order  to  live.  From  this  we 
may  conclude  that  between  three  and  four  thousand  Negro 
families  in  the  city  may  be  classed  among  the  semi-pauper 
class.  Thus  it  is  plain  that  there  is  a  large  problem  of 
poverty  among  the  Negro  problems  ;  4  per  cent  of  the 
population  furnish  according  to  the  foregoing  statistics 
at  least  8  per  cent  of  the  poverty.  Considering  the 
economic  difficulties  of  the  Negro,  we  ought  perhaps  to 
expect  rather  more  than  less  than  this.  Beside  these  per 
manently  pauperized  families  there  is  a  considerable  number 
of  persons  who  from  time  to  time  must  receive  temporary 
aid,  but  can  usually  get  on  without  it.  In  time  of  stress 
as  during  the  year  1893  this  class  is  very  large. 

There  is  especial  suffering  and  neglect  among  the  children 
of  this  class  of  people  :  in  the  last  ten  years  the  Children's 
Aid  Society  has  received  the  following  children  :  6 


From  iBB?  to  2897* 

Received  from  judges  and  magistrates  (so-called  delin 
quents)  ...................... 

Deserted  babies  ................    ... 

Orphans    ...................... 

Half-orphans,  including  those  with  mothers  in  delicate 
health  and  worthless  fathers  ;  also  both  parents 
worthless  ..................... 

From  Blockley  Almshouse  .............. 


Negroes.     7'otaL 


19 

7 
4 


181 

55 
147 

448 


*From  the  Society  records,  by  courtesy  of  the  officers. 


274  Pauperism  and  Alcoholism.       [Chap.  XIV. 

From  Blockley  Almshouse  (foundlings)     .......          12  362 

From  Society  for  Prevention  of  Cruelty  to  Children  .    .  3  45 

From  County  Poor  Boards  ..............          26  151 

no          1389 

The  total  receptions  during  these  ten  years  have  been 
1389,  of  which  the  Negroes  formed  8  per  cent.  This  but 
emphasizes  the  fact  of  poor  family  life  among  the  lower 
classes  which  we  have  spoken  of  before. 

A  little  better  light  can  be  thrown  on  the  problem  of 
poverty  by  a  study  of  concrete  cases  ;  for  this  purpose  237 
families  have  been  selected.  They  live  in  the  Seventh 
Ward  and  are  composed  of  those  families  of  Negroes 
whom  the  Charity  Organization  Society,  Seventh  District, 
has  aided  for  at  least  two  winters.7  First,  we  must  notice 
that  this  number  nearly  corresponds  with  the  previously 
estimated  per  cent  of  the  "  very  poor."  8  Arranging  these 
families  according  to  size,  we  have  : 

Number  in  Family.  Families.  Persons. 


I                 ... 

.    .    48 

2  . 

7 

.   .    61 
.    .    54 

4  • 

•    •     IQ 

6             ... 

.    .    10 

7  .     .              .     . 

.    .      I 

II  ..         ... 

.    .      I 

Unknown  -   .    , 
Total  .... 

.   .    9 

.    .  234 

122 
162 
124 

95 
60 

7 
ii 


638 


The  reported  causes  of  poverty,  which  were  in  all  cases 
verified  by  visitors  so  far  as  possible,  were  as  follows  : 


7 From  the  C.  O.  S.  records,  Seventh  District,  by  courtesy  of  Miss 
Burke. 

8  This  coincidence  in  figures  was  entirely  unnoticed  until  both  had 
been  worked  out  by  independent  methods. 


Sect.  41.]  Pauperism.  275 

Lack  of  work 115  families. 

Sickness,  accident,  or  physical  disability    ...  39 

Death  of  bread-winner  and  old  age 24 

Probable  gambling,  criminal  shiftlessness,  etc.,  16 

Desertion  of  bread-winner 15 

Laziness  and  improvidence 10 

Intemperate  use  of  alcoholic  liquors    .   .       .    .  8 

Financial  reverses 7 

234  families. 

From  as  careful  a  consideration  of  these  cases  as  the 
necessarily  meagre  information  of  records  and  visitors 
permit,  it  seems  fair  to  say  that  Negro  poverty  in  the 
Seventh  Ward  was,  in  these  cases,  caused  as  follows : 

By  sickness  and  misfortune 40  per  cent. 

By  lack  of  steady  employment    ...          ...    30        " 

By  laziness,  improvidence  and  intemperate  drink    20        " 
By  crime 10        ** 

Of  course  this  is  but  a  rough  estimate ;  many  of  these 
causes  indirectly  influence  each  other :  crime  causes  sick 
ness  and  misfortune ;  lack  of  employment  causes  crime ; 
laziness  causes  lack  of  work,  etc. 

Several  typical  families  will  illustrate  the  varying  con 
ditions  encountered : 

No.  i. — South  Eighteenth  street  Four  in  the  family ; 
husband  intemperate  drinker;  wife  decent,  but  out  of 
work. 

No.  2. — South  Tenth  street.  Five  in  the  family;  widow 
and  children  out  of  work,  and  had  sold  the  bed  to  pay  for 
expense  of  a  sick  child. 

No.  3, — Dean  street  A  woman  paralyzed;  partially  sup 
ported  by  a  colored  church. 

No.  4. — Carver  street.  Worthy  woman  deserted  by  her 
husband  five  years  ago ;  helped  with  coal,  but  is  paying 
the  Charity  Organization  Society  back  again. 

No.  5. — Hampton  street  Three  in  family;  living  in 
three  rooms  with  three  other  families.  "  No  push,  and 
improvident" 


276  Pauperism  and  Alcoholism.      [Chap.  XIV. 

No.  6. — Stockton  street.  The  woman  has  just  had  an 
operation  performed  in  the  hospital,  and  cannot  work  yet. 

No.  7. — Addison  street  Three  in  family;  left  their  work 
in  Virginia  through  the  misrepresentations  of  an  Arch 
street  employment  bureau  ;  out  of  work. 

No.  8.— Richard  street.  Laborer  injured  by  falling  of  a 
derrick  ;  five  in  the  family.  His  fellow  workmen  have 
contributed  to  his  support,  but  the  employers  have  given 
nothing* 

No.  9. — Lombard  street.  Five  in  family;  wife  white  ; 
living  in  one  room ;  hard  cases ;  rum  and  lies  ;  pretended 
one  child  was  dead  in  order  to  get  aid. 

No.  10. — Carver  street.  Woman  and  demented  son;  she 
was  found  very  drunk  on  the  street ;  plays  policy. 

No.  ii. — Lombard  street  Worthy  woman  sick  with  a 
tumor ;  given  temporary  aid. 

No.  12. — Ohio  street.  Woman  and  two  children  deserted 
by  her  husband  ;  helped  to  pay  her  rent. 

No.  13. — Rodman  street  A  widow  and  child;  out  of 
work.  "One  very  little  room,  clean  and  orderly." 

No.  14. — Fothergill  street  Two  in  the  family;  the  man 
sick,  half-crazy  and  lazy;  "  going  to  convert  Africa  and 
didn't  want  to  cook  ; "  given  temporary  help. 

No.  15. — Lombard  street  An  improvident  young  couple 
out  of  work ;  living  in  one  untidy  room,  with  nothing  to 
pay  rent 

No.  1 6. — Lombard  street  A  poor  widow  of  a  wealthy 
caterer  ;  cheated  out  of  her  property  ;  has  since  died. 

No.  17. — Ivy  street  A  family  of  four;  husband  was  a 
stevedore,  but  is  sick  with  asthma,  and  wife  out  of  work  ; 
decent,  but  improvident. 

No.  1 8. — Naudain  street  Family  of  three;  the  man, 
who  is  decent,  has  broken  his  leg ;  the  wife  plays  policy. 

No.  19. — South  Juniper  street  Woman  and  two  chil 
dren  ;  deserted  by  her  husband,  and  in  the  last  stages  of 
consumption. 


Sect  42.]  The  Drink  Habit.  277 

No.  20. — Radcliffe  street.  Family  of  three;  borrowed  of 
Charity  Organization  Society  $1.00  to  pay  rent,  and  re 
paid  it  in  three  weeks. 

No.  21. — Lombard  street  "A  genteel  American  white 
woman  married  to  a  colored  man ;  he  is  at  present  in  the 
South  looking  for  employment;  have  one  child;1'  both 
are  respectable. 

No.  22. — Fothergill  street.  Wife  deserted  him  and  two 
children,  and  ran  off  with  a  man ;  he  is  out  of  work ; 
asked  aid  to  send  his  children  to  friends. 

No.  23. — Carver  street.  Man  of  twenty-three  came  from 
Virginia  for  work ;  was  run  over  by  cars  at  Forty-fifth, 
street  and  Baltimore  avenue,  and  lost  both  legs  and  right 
arm ;  is  dependent  on  colored  friends  and  wants  something 
to  do. 

No.  24. — Helmuth  street.  Family  of  three;  man  out  of 
work  all  winter,  and  wife  with  two  and  one-half  days'  work 
a  week ;  respectable. 

No.  -25. — Richard  street.  Widow,  niece  and  baby ;  the 
niece  betrayed  and  deserted.  They  ask  for  work. 

42.  The  Drink  Habit. — The  intemperate  use  of  intoxi 
cating  liquors  is  not  one  of  the  Negro's  special  offences ; 
nevertheless  there  is  considerable  drinking  and  the  use  of 
beer  is  on  the  increase.  The  Philadelphia  liquor  saloons 
are  conducted  under  an  unusually  well-administered  system, 
and  are  not  to  so  great  an  extent  centres  of  brawling  and 
loafing  as  in  other  cities ;  no  amusements,  as  pool  and 
billiards,  are  allowed  in  rooms  where  liquor  is  sold.  This 
is  not  an  unmixed  good  for  the  result  is  that  much  of  the 
drinking  is  thus  driven  into  homes,  clubs  and  "speak 
easies."  The  increase  of  beer-drinking  among  all  classes, 
black  and  white,  is  noticeable ;  the  beer  wagons  deliver 
large  numbers  of  bottles  at  private  residences,  and  much  is 
carried  from  the  saloons  in  buckets. 

An  attempt  was  made  in  1897  to  count  the  frequenters 
of  certain  saloons  in  the  Seventh  Ward  during  the  hours 


278  Pauperism  and  Alcoholism.       [Chap.  XIV. 

from  8  to  10  on  a  Saturday  night.  It  was  impracticable  to 
make  this  count  simultaneously  or  to  cover  the  whole  ward, 
but  eight  or  ten  were  watched  each  night.9  The  results 
are  a  rough  measurement  of  the  drinking  habits  in  this  ward. 

There  are  in  the  ward  52  saloons  of  which  26  were 
watched  in  districts  mostly  inhabited  by  Negroes.  In  these 
two  hours  the  following  record  was  made: 

Persons  entering  the  saloons  : 

Negroes — male,  1373;  female,  213.  Whites — male, 
1445;  female,  139. 

Of  those  entering,  the  following  are  known  to  have 
carried  liquor  away : 

Negroes — male,  238 ;  female,  125.  Whites — male,  275  ; 
female,  81. 

3170  persons  entered  half  the  saloons  of  the  Seventh 
Ward  in  the  hours  from  8  to  10  of  one  Saturday  night  in 
December,  1897  ;  of  these,  1586  were  Negroes,  and  1584 
were  whites;  2818  were  males,  and  352  were  females.10 
Of  those  entering  these  saloons  at  this  time  a  part  carried 
away  liquor — mostly  beer  in  tin  buckets;  of  those  thus 
visibly  carrying  away  liquor  there  were  in  all  719;  of 
these  363  were  Negroes,  and  356  were  whites;  513  were 
males,  and  206  were  females. 

The  observers  stationed  near  these  saloons  saw,  in  the 
two  hours  they  were  there,  79  drunken  persons. 

The  general  character  of  the  saloons  and  their  frequenters 
can  best  be  learned  from  a  few  typical  reports.  The  num 
bers  given  are  the  official  license  numbers  : 

No.  516.     Persons  entering  saloon  : 
Men — white,    40;    Negro,    68.      Women — white,    12; 
Negro,  12. 

9 1  am  indebted  to  Dr.  S.  M.  I/indsay  and  the  students  of  the  Wharton 
School  for  the  carrying  ont  of  this  plan. 

10  No  comparison  of  the  number  of  Negroes  and  whites  for  the  ward 
can  be  made,  because  many  of  the  saloons  omitted  are  frequented  by 
whites  principally. 


Sect.  42.]  The  Drink  Habit.  279 

Persons  carrying  liquor  away : 

Men — white,  8 ;  Negro,  16.  Women — white,  i ;  Negro,  3. 

Drunken  persons  seen,  12. 

General  character  of  saloon  and  frequenters  : — "  A  small 
corner  saloon,  kept  by  a  white  man.  The  saloon  appears 
to  be  a  respectable  one  and  has  three  entrances :  one  on 
Thirteenth  street  and  the  two  on  a  small  court  The  majority 
of  the  colored  patrons  are  poor  people  and  of  the  working 
class.  The  white  patrons  are,  for  the  greater  part,  of  the 
better  class.  Among  the  latter  very  few  were  intoxicated." 

No.  488.    Persons  entering: 

Men — white,  24 ;  Negro,  102.  Women — white,  2  ; 
Negro,  3. 

Carrying  liquor  away,  12 ;  drunken  persons  seen,  8. 

General  character : — "  The  saloon  was  none  too  orderly; 
policemen  remained  near  all  the  time ;  the  Negro  men 
entering  were  as  a  rule  well  dressed — perhaps  one-third 
were  laborers ;  the  white  men  were  well  dressed  but 
suspicious  looking  characters." 

No.  515.     Persons  entering : 

Men — white,  81 ;  Negro,  59.  Women — white,  4 ; 
Negro,  10. 

Persons  carrying  liquor  away  : 

Men — white,  15  (one  a  boy  of  12  or  14  years  of  age); 
Negro,  n.  Women — white,  4;  Negro,  8. 

Drunken  persons  seen,  2  (to  one  nothing  was  sold). 

General  character  of  saloon  and  frequenters: — "There 
were  two  Negro  men  and  seven  white  men  in  saloon 
when  the  count  was  started.  The  place  has  three  doors 
but  all  are  easily  observed.  Trade  is  largely  in  distilled 
liquors,  and  a  great  deal  is  sold  in  bottles — a  *  barrel 
shop.5 » 

No.  527.     Persons  entering  saloon  : 


2 So  Pattperism  and  Alcoholism.       [Chap.  XIV. 

8  to  9  P.  M.       9  to  10  P.  M.    Total. 

Men,  White 49  54  104 

"     Negro 29  37  68 

Women,  White 3  3  6 

"         Negro 5  2  7 

88  97  185 

Persons  carrying  liquor  away: 

Men,  White 6  n  17 

"     Negro 4  9  T3 

Women,  White o  i  i 

"         Negro 4  o  4 

Boys,            "        i  o  i 

15  21  36 

Drunken  persons  seen,  none. 

General  character  of  saloon  and  frequenters : — "  Quiet, 
orderly  crowd — quick  trade — no  loafing.  Three  boys  were 
among  those  entering." 

No.  484.    Persons  entering  saloon  : 

Men — white,  70;  Negro,  32.  Women — white,  10; 
Negro,  i. 

Persons  carrying  liquor  away  : 

Men — white,  10  ;  Negro,  12.  Women — white,  4  ; 
Negro,  o. 

Drunken  persons  seen,  n,  six  of  whom  were  white  and 
five  black.  ' £  I  cannot  say  that  the  saloon  was  responsible 
for  all  of  them,  but  they  were  all  in  or  about  it." 

This  saloon  is  in  the  worst  slum  section  of  the  ward  and 
is  of  bad  character.  Frequenters  were  a  mixed  lot,  u  fast, 
tough,  criminal  and  besotted. " 

No.  487.    Persons  entering : 

Men — white,  79;  Negro,  129.  Women — white,  13; 
Negro,  34. 

Persons  carrying  liquor  away : 

Men — white,  15  ;  Negro,  25.  Women — white,  5  ; 
Negro,  8. 


Sect.  42.]  The  Drink  Habit.  281 

"  No  drunken  men  seen.  Frequented  by  a  sharp  class 
of  criminals  and  loafers.  Near  the  notorious  <  Middle 
Alley.3 " 

No.  525. 

Total  Negroes  entering,  14;  total  whites  entering,  13. 

"  No  loafers  about  the  front  of  the  saloon.  Streets  well 
lighted  and  neighborhood  quiet,  according  to  the  policeman. 
There  was  a  barber  shop  next  door  and  a  saloon  on  the 
corner  ten  doors  below.  Very  few  drunken  people  were 
seen.  Trade  was  most  brisk  between  eight  and  nine 
o'clock.  In  two  hours  one  more  Negro  than  white  entered. 
Two  more  Negroes,  men,  than  whites  carried  away  liquor. 
One  white  man,  a  German,  returned  three  times  for  beer  in 
a  kettle.  Two  Negro  women  carried  beer  away  in  kettles ; 
one  white  woman  (Irish)  made  two  trips.  All  women 
entered  by  side  door.  The  saloon  is  under  a  residence, 
three  stories,  corner  of  Waverly  and  Eleventh  streets. 
Waverly  street  has  a  Negro  population  which  fairly 
swarms — good  position  for  Negro  trade.  Proprietor  and 
assistant  were  both  Irish.  The  interior  of  the  saloon  was 
finished  in  white  pine  stained  to  imitate  cherry.  Ex 
tremely  plain.  Barkeeper  said,  c  A  warm  night,  but  we 
are  doing  very  well.'  One  beggar  came  in,  a  colored 
*  Auntie ;'  she  wanted  bread,  not  gin.  Negroes  were  well 
dressed,  as  a  rule,  many  smoking.  The  majority  of 
frequenters  by  their  bustling  air  and  directness  with  which 
they  found  the  place,  showed  long  acquaintance  with  the 
neighborhood ;  especially  this  corner." 

No.  500.     Persons  entering  saloon  : 

Men — white,  40;  Negro,  73.  Women — white  4; 
Negro,  6. 

Persons  carrying  liquor  away : 

Men — white,  6;  Negro,  23.  Women — white,  5; 
Negro,  4. 

Drunken  persons  seen,  i. 


282  Pauperism  and  Alcoholism.       [Chap.  XIV. 

General  character  of  saloon  and  frequenters:— "Four 
story  building,  plain  and  neat;  three  entrances;  iron 
awning ;  electric  and  Welsbach  lights.  Negroes  generally 
tidy  and  appear  to  be  pretty  well-to-do.  Whites  not  so 
tidy  as  Negroes  and  generally  mechanics.  Almost  all 
smoke  cigars.  Liquor  carried  away  openly  in  pitchers  and 
kettles.  Three  of  the  white  women,  carrying  away  liquor, 
looked  like  Irish  servant  girls.  Some  of  the  Negroes 
carried  bundles  of  laundry  and  groceries  with  them." 

Pew  general  conclusions  can  be  drawn  from  this  data. 
The  saloon  is  evidently  not  so  much  a  moral  as  an  economic 
problem  among  Negroes  ;  if  the  1586  Negroes  who  went 
into  the  saloons  within  two  hours  Saturday  night  spent  five 
cents  apiece,  which  is  a  low  estimate,  they  spent  $79.30. 
If,  as  is  probable,  at  least  $100  was  spent  that  Saturday 
evening  throughout  the  ward,  then  in  a  year  we  would  not 
be  wrong  in  concluding  their  Saturday  night's  expenditure 
was  at  least  $5000,  and  their  total  expenditure  could 
scarcely  be  less  than  $10,000,  and  it  may  reach  $20,000 — a 
large  sum  for  a  poor  people  to  spend  in  liquor. 

43.  The  Causes  of  Crime  and  Poverty. — A  study  of 
statistics  seems  to  show  that  the  crime  and  pauperism  of 
the  Negroes  exceeds  that  of  the  whites  ;  that  in  the  main, 
nevertheless,  it  follows  in  its  rise  and  fall  the  fluctuations 
shown  in  the  records  of  the  whites,  i.  <?.,  if  crime  increases 
among  the  whites  it  increases  among  Negroes,  and  vice 
versa,  with  this  peculiarity,  that  among  the  Negroes  the 
change  is  always  exaggerated — the  increase  greater,  the 
decrease  more  marked  in  nearly  all  cases.  This  is  what  we 
would  naturally  expect:  we  have  here  the  record  of  a  low 
social  class,  and  as  the  condition  of  a  lower  class  is  by  its 
very  definition  worse  than  that  of  a  higher,  so  the  situation 
of  the  Negroes  is  worse  as  respects  crime  and  poverty  than 
that  of  the  mass  of  whites.  Moreover,  any  change  in  social 
conditions  is  bound  to  affect  the  poor  and  unfortunate  more 
than  the  rich  and  prosperous.  We  have  in  all  probability 


Sect.  43.]     The  Causes  of  Crime  and  Poverty.  283 

an  example  of  this  in  the  increase  of  crime  since  1890  ; 
we  have  had  a  period  of  financial  stress  and  industrial 
depression  ;  the  ones  who  have  felt  this  most  are  the  poor, 
the  unskilled  laborers,  the  inefficient  and  unfortunate,  and 
those  with  small  social  and  economic  advantages:  the 
Negroes  are  in  this  class,  and  the  result  has  been  an  increase 
in  Negro  crime  and  pauperism;  there  has  also  been  an 
increase  in  the  crime  of  the  whites,  though  less  rapid  by 
reason  of  their  richer  and  more  fortunate  upper  classes. 

So  far,  then,  we  have  no  phenomena  which  are  new  or 
exceptional,  or  which  present  more  than  the  ordinary  social 
problems  of  crime  and  poverty — although  these,  to  be  sure, 
are  difficult  enough.  Beyond  these,  however,  there  are 
problems  which  can  rightly  be  called  Negro  problems: 
they  arise  from  the  peculiar  history  and  condition  of  the 
American  Negro.  The  first  peculiarity  is,  of  course,  the 
slavery  and  emancipation  of  the  Negroes.  That  their 
emancipation  has  raised  them  economically  and  morally  is 
proven  by  the  increase  of  wealth  and  co-operation,  and  the 
decrease  of  poverty  and  crime  between  the  period  before 
the  war  and  the  period  since ;  nevertheless,  this  was  mani 
festly  no  simple  process :  the  first  effect  of  emancipation 
was  that  of  any  sudden  social  revolution :  a  strain  upon 
the  strength  and  resources  of  the  Negro,  moral,  economic 
and  physical,  which  drove  many  to  the  wall.  For  this  reason 
the  rise  of  the  Negro  in  this  city  is  a  series  of  rushes  and 
backslidings  rather  than  a  continuous  growth.  The  second 
great  peculiarity  of  the  situation  of  the  Negroes  is  the  fact 
of  immigration ;  the  great  numbers  of  raw  recruits  who 
have  from  time  to  time  precipitated  themselves  upon  the 
Negroes  of  the  city  and  shared  their  small  industrial  oppor 
tunities,  have  made  reputations  which,  whether  good  or  bad, 
all  their  race  must  share  ;  and  finally  whether  they  failed  or 
succeeded  in  the  strong  competition,  they  themselves  must 
soon  prepare  to  face  a  new  immigration. 

Here  then  we  have  two  great  causes  for  the  present 


284  Pauperism  and  Alcoholism.       [Chap.  XIV. 

condition  of  the  Negro  :  Slavery  and  emancipation  with 
their  attendant  phenomena  of  ignorance,  lack  of  discipline, 
and  moral  weakness  ;  immigration  with  its  increased  com 
petition  and  moral  influence.  To  this  must  be  added  a 
third  as  great — possibly  greater  in  influence  than  the  other 
two,  namely  the  environment  in  which  a  Negro  finds  him 
self — the  world  of  custom  and  thought  in  which  he  must 
live  and  work,  the  physical  surrounding  of  house  and 
home  and  ward,  the  moral  encouragements  and  discourage 
ments  which  he  encounters.  We  dimly  seek  to  define  this 
social  environment  partially  when  we  talk  of  color  prejudice 
— but  this  is  but  a  vague  characterization ;  what  we  want 
to  study  is  not  a  vague  thought  or  feeling  but  its  concrete 
manifestations.  We  know  pretty  well  what  the  surround 
ings  are  of  a  young  white  lad,  or  a  foreign  immigrant  who 
comes  to  this  great  city  to  join  in  its  organic  life.  We 
know  what  influences  and  limitations  surround  him,  to 
what  he  may  attain,  what  his  companionships  are,  what  his 
encouragements  are,  what  his  drawbacks. 

This  we  must  know  in  regard  to  the  Negro  if  we  would 
study  his  social  condition.  His  strange  social  environment 
must  have  immense  effect  on  his  thought  and  life,  his  work 
and  crime,  his  wealth  and  pauperism.  That  this  environ 
ment  differs  and  differs  broadly  from  the  environment  of 
his  fellows,  we  all  know,  but  we  do  not  know  just  how  it 
differs.  The  real  foundation  of  the  difference  is  the  wide 
spread  feeling  all  over  the  land,  in  Philadelphia  as  well  as 
in  Boston  and  New  Orleans,  that  the  Negro  is  something 
less  than  an  American  and  ought  not  to  be  much  more 
than  what  he  is.  Argue  as  we  may  for  or  against  this 
idea,  we  must  as  students  recognize  its  presence  and  its 
vast  effects. 

At  the  Eastern  Penitentiary  where  they  seek  so  far  as 
possible  to  attribute  to  definite  causes  the  criminal  record 
of  each  prisoner,  the  vast  influence  of  environment  is 
shown.  This  estimate  is  naturally  liable  to  error,  but  the 


Sect.  43.]     The  Causes  of  Crime  and  Poverty,  285 

peculiar  system  of  this  institution  and  the  long  service  and 
wide  experience  of  the  warden  and  his  subordinates  gives 
it  a  peculiar  and  unusual  value.  Of  the  541  Negro  prison 
ers  previously  studied  191  were  catalogued  as  criminals  by 
reason  of  "  natural  and  inherent  depravity. "  The  others 
were  divided  as  follows : 
Crimes  due  to 

(a)  Defects  of  the  law  : 

Laxity  in  administration 33 

Unsuitable  laws  for  minor  offences 48 

Inefficient  police , 22 

License  given  to  the  young 16 

Inefficient  laws  in  regard  to  saloons    .  ....  u 

Poor  institutions  and  lack  of  institutions 12 

142 

(&)  Immediate  environment: 

Association .   .      53 

Amusements 16 

Home  and  family  influences 25 

94 

(c)  Lack  of  training,  lack  of  opportunity,  lack  of 

desire  to  work 56 

(d)  General  environment 6 

(e)  Disease 16 

(_/")  Moral  weakness  and  unknown 36 

114 

This  rough  judgment  of  men  who  have  come  into  daily 
contact  with  five  hundred  Negro  criminals  but  emphasizes 
the  fact  alluded  to  ;  the  immense  influence  of  his  peculiar 
environment  on  the  black  Philadelphian  ;  the  influence  of 
homes  badly  situated  and  badly  managed,  with  parents 
untrained  for  their  responsibilities  ;  the  influence  of  social 
surroundings  which  by  poor  laws  and  inefficient  adminis 
tration  leave  the  bad  to  be  made  worse ;  the  influence  of 
economic  exclusion  which  admits  Negroes  only  to  those 
parts  of  the  economic  world  where  it  is  hardest  to  retain 
ambition  and  self-respect ;  and  finally  that  indefinable  but 
real  and  mighty  moral  influence  that  causes  men  to  have 


286  Pauperism  and  Alcoholism.       [Chap.  XIV. 

a  real  sense  of  manhood  or  leads  them  to  lose  aspiration 
and  self-respect. 

Kor  the  last  ten  or  fifteen  years  young1  Negroes  have 
been  ponring  into  this  city  at  the  rate  of  a  thousand  a 
year  \  the  question  is  then  what  homes  they  find  or  make, 
what  neighbors  they  have,  how  they  amuse  themselves, 
and  what  work  they  engage  in  ?  Again,  into  what  sort  of 
homes  are  the  hundreds  of  Negro  babies  of  each  year 
born?  Under  what  social  influences  do  they  come,  what 
is  the  tendency  of  their  training,  and  what  places  in  life 
can  they  fill  ?  To  answer  all  these  questions  is  to  go  far 
toward  finding  the  real  causes  of  crime  and  pauperism 
among  this  race  ;  the  next  two  chapters,  therefore,  take  up 
the  question  of  environment. 


CHAPTER  XV. 

THE  ENVIRONMENT  OF  THE  NEGRO. 

44.  Houses  and  Rent. — The  Inquiry  of  1848  returned 
quite  full  statistics  of  rents  paid  by  the  Negroes.1  In 
the  whole  city  at  that  date  4019  Negro  families  paid 
$199,665.46  in  rent,  or  an  average  of  $49.68  per  family 
each  year.  Ten  years  earlier  the  average  was  $44  per 
family.  Nothing  better  indicates  the  growth  of  the  Negro 
population  in  numbers  and  power  when  we  compare  with 
this  the  figures  for  1896  for  one  ward ;  in  that  year  the 
Negroes  of  the  Seventh  Ward  paid  $25,699.50  each  month 
in  rent,  or  $308,034  a  year,  an  average  of  $126.19  per 
annum  for  each  family.  This  ward  may  have  a  somewhat 
higher  proportion  of  renters  than  most  other  wards.  At 
the  lowest  estimate,  however,  the  Negroes  of  Philadelphia 
pay  at  least  $1,250,000  in  rent  each  year.2 

The  table  of  rents  for  1848  is  as  follows  (see  page  288): 
We  see  that  in  1848  the  average  Negro  family  rented  by 
the  month  or  quarter,  and  paid  between  four  and  five  dol 
lars  per  month  rent.  The  highest  average  rent  for  any 
section  was  less  than  fifteen  dollars  a  month.  For  such 
rents  the  poorest  accommodations  were  afforded,  and  we 
know  from  descriptions  that  the  mass  of  Negroes  had  small 
and  unhealthful  homes,  usually  on  the  back  streets  and 
alleys.  The  rents  paid  to-day  in  the  Seventh  Ward, 
according  to  the  number  of  rooms,  are  tabulated  on 
page  289. 

1  **  Condition,**  etc.,  1848,  p.  16. 

2  Not  taking  into  account  sub-rent  repaid  by  sub-tenants  ;  subtracting 
this   and  the  sum  would  be,   perhaps,   $1,000,000 — see   infra*  p.   291. 
That  paid  by  single  lodgers  ought  not,  of  course,  to  be  subtracted  as  it 
has  not  been  added  in. 

(287) 


288 


77ie  Environment  of  the  Negro.    [Chap.  XV. 


vo      Tf      r»»     oo 


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the  mont 
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the  week 
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the  night 
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aid  b 


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Number  per 
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Own  their  h 
Not  reporte 
Average  ann 
Same  fo 


Sect.  44.] 


Houses  and  Rent. 


289 


NEGRO  HOMES,  ACCORDING  TO  RENTS  AND  ROOMS.* 
Seventh  Ward,  Philadelphia. 


Amount  of  Rent 
per  Month. 

Number  of  Rooms. 

Grand 
Total 
j      Rent. 

One  aiid 
less, 

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679.00 
67.50 
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23.00 
139-00 
569.00 
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1620.00 
209.00 
2300.00 

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972.OO 

1470  oo 

875.00 
560.00 

135-00 

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65.00 
75.00 

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.$25*699-50 

Total  rent  per  year $308,034*°° 

>nth  per  family,  $10.50+ 


Total  rent  p«r  month 
Total  rent  per  year 
Aver,  rent  per  mont! 


Aver,  rent  per  year  per  family  .  $126.19 
Aver,  rent  per  year  per  indmdnal,$3i.S.j 


3  The  returns  as  to  rents  paid  are  among  the  most  reliable  of  the  statis 
tics  gathered.    The  amount  of  rent  is  always  well  known,  and  there  are 


29°  The  Environment  of  the  Negro.    [Chap.  XV. 

Condensing  this  table  somewhat  we  find  that  the  Negroes 
pay  rent  as  follows  : 

Under  $5  per  month 490  families>  or  21.9  per  cent. 


$5  and  under  $10 643 

$10    "         «      $15 380 

$15    "         "      $20 252 

$20    «         «      $30 375 

$30  and  over 95 


28.7 
17.0 

"•3 

17.0 


The  lodging  system  so  prevalent  in  the  Seventh  Ward 
makes  some  rents  appear  higher  than  the  real  facts  warrant. 
This  ward  is  in  the  centre  of  the  city,  near  the  places  of 
employment  for  the  mass  of  the  people  and  near  the  centre 
of  their  social  life ;  consequently  people  crowd  here  in 
great  numbers.  Young  couples  just  married  engage  lodg 
ing  in  one  or  two  rooms ;  families  join  together  and  hire 
one  house ;  and  numbers  of  families  take  in  single  lodgers  ; 
thus  the  population  of  the  ward  is  made  up  of 

Families  owning  or  renting  their  homes  and  living 

alone 738,  or  31  per  cent. 

Families  owning  or  renting  their  homes,  who  take 

lodgers  or  sul>renters 937,   "    38        " 

Families  sub-renting  under  other  families 766,  "    31         " 

Total  individuals  ....    * 7751  100        " 

Total  families    ,   . 2441 

Individuals  lodging  with  families 1924 

Total  individuals 9675 

The  practice  of  sub-renting  is  found  of  course  in  all 
degrees :  from  the  business  of  boarding-house  keeper  to  the 


few  motives  for  deception.  Moreover  in  Philadelphia  there  is  a  tendency 
to  build  rows  and  streets  of  houses  with  the  same  general  design.  These 
rent  for  the  same  sum,  and  thus  particular  instances  of  false  report  are 
easily  detected.  One  feature  of  the  returns  must  be  noted,  2.  e, ,  the  large 
number  of  cases  where  high  rents  are  paid  for  one-  and  two-room  tene 
ments.  In  nearly  all  of  these  cases  this  rent  is  paid  for  large  front  bed 
rooms  in  good  localities,  and  often  includes  furniture.  Sometimes  a 
limited  use  of  the  family  kitchen  is  also  included.  In  such  cases  it  is 
misleading  to  call  these  one-room  tenements.  No  other  arrangement, 
however,  seemed  practical  in  these  tables. 


Sect.  44.] 


Houses  and  Rent. 


291 


case  of  a  family  which  rents  out  its  spare  bed-chamber.  In 
the  first  case  the  rent  is  practically  all  repaid,  and  must  in 
some  cases  be  regarded  as  income  ;  in  the  other  cases  a 
small  fraction  of  the  rent  is  repaid  and  the  real  rent  and 
the  size  of  the  home  reduced.  I^et  us  endeavor  to  deter 
mine  what  proportion  of  the  rents  of  the  Seventh  Ward 
are  repaid  in  sub-rents,  omitting  some  boarding  and  lodging- 
houses  where  the  sub-rent  is  really  the  income  of  the  house 
wife.  In  most  cases  the  room-rent  of  lodgers  covers  some 
return  for  the  care  of  the  room.  The  next  table  gives 
detailed  statistics  : 

PROPORTION  OF  RENT  REPAID  IN  SUB-RENT. 
Negroes  of  Seventh  Ward,  Philadelphia. 


Proportion  Repaid 
in  Sub-rent. 

Monthly  Rent  Paid:  Dollars 

Total  Families. 

Appro;xi- 

Total 
Sub-rent: 
Dollars. 

u 

CJ 

a 

IO 

Over  sand  under  8. 

0 

a 
a 

Tf 

a 

CO 

u 

a 

3 

s 

0 
I 

12  and  under  15. 

CO 

Is 

03 

i8  and  under  20. 

20  and  under  25. 

a 

4J 

a 

03 

I 

4 
f! 
19 

14 

•o 

a 

oS, 

6 

i 

o 

II 

14 

6 
6 

i 

IO 

a 

a 

a 

0 

I 

I 
I 

I 
62 

One-eighth  rep'd 
One-sixth         * 
One-fourth 
One-  third 
One-half 
Two-thirds 
Three-fourths 
Four-fifths 
Whole  rent 
More    than    the 
whole  rent  re 
paid       .... 

I 

4 

19 
2 

99 
170 

243 
109 
80 

2 

94 
62 

61.08 
9.16 
460.51 
871.33 
1748.75 
1246.33 
1201.08 
48.00 

Ul67.00 

88n.24 

I 

2 
2 

3 
17 

2 
2 

I 
18 

37 
ii 

4 

I 

16 

20 

6 

2 

8    23 

45    26 
17    26 
24    ii 
6   ii 

16 
8 
23 

IO 

7 
13 

2 

31 
17 
55 
7 
23 
I 
19 

14 

I 

2 

ii 

4 

3 
3 

12 

: 

Unknown    .    .    . 

Total  families    . 

Approximate 
total    of    sub- 
rent  repaid 
monthly  -    .    . 

It  appears  from  this  table  that  nearly  $9000  is  paid  by 
the  sub-renting  families  and  lodgers  to  the  renting  families. 
A  part  of  this  ought  to  be  subtracted  from  the  total  rent 


292  The  Environment  of  the  Negro.    [Chap.  XV. 

paid  if  we  would  get  at  the  net  rent;  just  how  much, 
however,  should  be  called  wages  for  care  of  room,  or 
other  conveniences  furnished  sub-renters,  it  is  difficult  to 
say.  Possibly  the  net  rent  of  the  ward  is  $20,000,  and  of 
the  city  about  $i,ooo,ooo.4 

The  accommodations  furnished  for  the  rent  paid  must 
now  be  considered.  The  number  of  rooms  occupied  is  the 
simplest  measurement,  but  is  not  very  satisfactory  in  this 
case  owing  to  the  lodging  system  which  makes  it  difficult 
to  say  how  many  rooms  a  family  really  occupies.  A  very 
large  number  of  families  of  two  and  three  rent  a  single 
bedroom  and  these  must  be  regarded  as  one-room  tenants, 
and  yet  this  renting  of  a  room  often  includes  a  limited 
use  of  a  common  kitchen ;  on  the  other  hand  this  sub 
renting  family  cannot  in  justice  be  counted  as  belonging 
to  the  renting  family.  The  figures  are: 

829  families  live  in  I  room,  including  families  lodging,  or  35.2  per  cent. 

104        "          "     "    2  rooms or    4.4        " 

371        "          "    "    3      "       or  J5.7 

r7°        "          "     "4      "\  or  I2  7        « 

127        "          "    "    5      "  J 7 

754        "          "    "    6      "     or  more or  32.0        " 

The  number  of  families  occupying  one  room  is  here 
exaggerated  as  before  shown  by  the  lodging  system ;  on 
the  other  hand  the  number  occupying  six  rooms  and  more 
is  also  somewhat  exaggerated  by  the  fact  that  not  all 
sub-rented  rooms  have  been  subtracted,  although  this  has 
been  done  as  far  as  possible. 

Of  the  2441  families  only  334  had  access  to  bathrooms 
and  water-closets,  or  13.7  per  cent.  Even  these  334  fami 
lies  have  poor  accommodations  in  most  instances.  Many 
share  the  use  of  one  bathroom  with  one  or  more  other 
families.  The  bath-tubs  usually  are  not  supplied  with  hot 
water  and  very  often  have  no  water-connection  at  all.  This 
condition  is  largely  owing  to  the  fact  that  the  Seventh 

4  Here,  again,  the  proportion  paid  by  single  lodgers  must  not  be  sub 
tracted  as  it  has  not  been  added  in  before. 


Sect  44.] 


Houses  and  Rent. 


293 


Ward  belongs  to  the  older  part  of  Philadelphia,  built 
when  vaults  in  the  yards  were  used  exclusively  and  bath 
rooms  could  not  be  given  space  in  the  small  houses.  This 
was  not  so  unhealthful  before  the  houses  were  thick 
and  when  there  were  large  back  yards.  To-day,  however, 
the  back  yards  have  been  filled  by  tenement  houses  and  the 
bad  sanitary  results  are  shown  in  the  death  rate  of  the  ward. 

Even  the  remaining  yards  are  disappearing.  Of  the 
1751  families  making  returns,  932  had  a  private  yard 
12x12  feet,  or  larger  ;  312  had  a  private  yard  smaller  than 
12x12  feet ;  507  had  either  no  yard  at  all  or  a  yard  and 
outhouse  in  common  with  the  other  denizens  of  the  tene 
ment  or  alley. 

Of  the  latter  only  sixteen  families  had  water-closets.  So 
that  over  20  per  cent  and  possibly  30  per  cent  of  the  Negro 
families  of  this  ward  lack  some  of  the  very  elementary 
accommodations  necessary  to  health  and  decency.  And 
this  too  in  spite  of  the  fact  that  they  are  paying  compara 
tively  high  rents.  Here  too  there  comes  another  consider 
ation,  and  that  is  the  lack  of  public  urinals  and  water-closets 
in  this  ward  and,  in  fact,  throughout  Philadelphia.  The 
result  is  that  the  closets  of  tenements  are  used  by  the 
public.  A  couple  of  diagrams  will  illustrate  this ;  the 
houses  of  older  Philadelphia  were  built  like  this  : 


A  HOME 

B  OUTHOUSE 

C  YARD 

O  PASSAGE  TO  STREET 


When,  however,  certain  districts  like  the  Seventh  Ward 
became  crowded  and  given  over  to  tenants,  the  thirst  for 


294 


The  Environment  of  the  Negro.    [Chap.  XV. 


money-getting  led  landlords  in  large  numbers  of  cases  to 
build  up  their  back  yards  like  this : 


A  FRONT  TENEMENT  FACING  ST. 
C  BACK  TENEMENT  FACING  ALLEY 
D  ALLEY 

R  COMMON  OUTHOUSE 
FOR  3  TENANTS 


This  is  the  origin  of  numbers  of  the  blind  alleys  and 
dark  holes  which  make  some  parts  of  the  Fifth,  Seventh 
and  Eighth  Wards  notorious.  The  closets  in  such  cases  are 
sometimes  divided  into  compartments  for  different  tenants, 
but  in  many  cases  not  even  this  is  done ;  and  in  all  cases 
the  alley  closet  becomes  a  public  resort  for  pedestrians  and 
loafers.  The  back  tenements  thus  formed  rent  usually  for 
from  $7  to  $9  a  month,  and  sometimes  for  more.  They 
consist  of  three  rooms  one  above  the  other,  small,  poorly 
lighted  and  poorly  ventilated.  The  inhabitants  of  the 
alley  are  at  the  mercy  of  its  worst  tenants ;  here  policy 
shops  abound,  prostitutes  ply  their  trade,  and  criminals 
hide.  Most  of  these  houses  have  to  get  their  water  at  a 
hydrant  in  the  alley,  and  must  store  their  fuel  in  the 
house.  These  tenement  abominations  of  Philadelphia  are 
perhaps  better  than  the  vast  tenement  houses  of  New  York, 
but  they  are  bad  enough,  and  cry  for  reform  in  housing. 

The  fairly  comfortable  working  class  live  in  houses  of 
3-6  rooms,  with  water  in  the  house,  but  seldom  with  a 
bath.  A  three  room  house  on  a  small  street  rents  from 
$10  up ;  on  Lombard  street  a  5-8  room  house  can  be 
rented  for  from  $18  to  $30  according  to  location.  The 
great  mass  of  comfortably  situated  working  people  live  in 
houses  of  6-10  rooms,  and  sub-rent  a  part  or  take  lodgers. 
A  5-7  room  house  on  South  Eighteenth  street  can  be  had 
for  $20;  on  Florida  street  for  $18 ;  such,  houses  have 


Sect.  44.]  Houses  and  Rent.  295 

usually  a  parlor,  dining  room  and  kitchen  on  the  first  floor 
and  two  to  four  bedrooms,  of  which  one  or  two  are  apt  to 
be  rented  to  a  waiter  or  coachman  for  $4  a  month,  or  to  a 
married  couple  at  $6-10  a  month.  '  The  more  elaborate 
houses  are  on  I^ombard  street  and  its  cross  streets. 

The  rents  paid  by  the  Negroes  are  without  doubt  far 
above  their  means  and  often  from  one-fourth  to  three-fourths 
of  the  total  income  of  a  family  goes  in  rent  This  leads  to 
much  non-payment  of  rent  both  intentional  and  uninten 
tional,  to  frequent  shifting  of  homes,  and  above  all  to 
stinting  the  families  in  many  necessities  of  life  in  order  to 
live  in  respectable  dwellings.  Many  a  Negro  family  eats 
less  than  it  ought  for  the  sate  of  living  in  a  decent 
house. 

Some  of  this  waste  of  money  in  rent  is  sheer  ignorance 
and  carelessness.  The  Negroes  have  an  inherited  distrust 
of  banks  and  companies,  and  have  long  neglected  to  take 
part  in  Building  and  Ix>an  Associations.  Others  are  simply 
careless  in  the  spending  of  their  money  and  lack  the 
shrewdness  and  business  sense  of  differently  trained  peoples, 
Ignorance  and  carelessness  however  will  not  explain  all 
or  even  the  greater  part  of  the  problem  of  rent  among 
Negroes.  There  are  three  causes  of  even  greater  impor 
tance  :  these  are  the  limited  localities  where  Negroes  may 
rent,  the  peculiar  connection  of  dwelling  and  occupation 
among  Negroes  and  the  social  organization  of  the  Negro. 
The  undeniable  fact  that  most  Philadelphia  white  people 
prefer  not  to  live  near  Negroes5  limits  the  Negro  very 
seriously  in  his  choice  of  a  home  and  especially  in  the 
choice  of  a  cheap  home.  Moreover,  real  estate  agents 
knowing  the  limited  supply  usually  raise  the  rent  a  dollar 
or  two  for  Negro  tenants,  if  they  do  not  refuse  them 
altogether.  Again,  the  occupations  which  the  Negro 
follows,  and  which  at  present  he  is  compelled  to  follow,  are 

5  The  sentiment  has  greatly  lessened  in  intensity  during  the  last  two 
decades,  but  it  is  still  strong ;  cf.  section  47, 


296  The  Environment  of  the  Negro.    [Chap.  XV. 

of  a  sort  that  makes  it  necessary  for  him  to  live  near  the 
best  portions  of  the  city ;  the  mass  of  Negroes  are  in  the 
economic  world  purveyors  to  the  rich — working  in  private 
houses,  in  hotels,  large  stores,  etc.6  In  order  to  keep  this 
work  they  must  live  near  by;  the  laundress  cannot  bring 
her  Spruce  street  family's  clothes  from  the  Thirtieth  Ward, 
nor  can  the  waiter  at  the  Continental  Hotel  lodge  in 
Oermantown.  With  the  mass  of  white  workmen  this  same 
necessity  of  living  near  work,  does  not  hinder  them  from 
getting  cheap  dwellings ;  the  factory  is  surrounded  by 
cheap  cottages,  the  foundry  by  long  rows  of  houses,  and 
even  the  white  clerk  and  shop  girl  can,  on  account  of  their 
hours  of  labor,  afford  to  live  further  out  iu  the  suburbs 
than  the  black  porter  who  opens  the  store.  Thus  it  is 
clear  that  the  nature  of  the  Negro's  work  compels  him  to 
crowd  into  the  centre  of  the  city  much  more  than  is  the 
case  with  the  mass  of  white  working  people.  At  the  same 
time  this  necessity  is  apt  in  some  cases  to  be  overestimated, 
and  a  few  hours  of  sleep  or  convenience  serve  to  persuade 
a  good  many  families  to  endure  poverty  in  the  Seventh 
Ward  when  they  might  be  comfortable  in  the  Twenty- 
fourth  Ward.  Nevertheless  much  of  the  Negro  problem  in 
this  city  finds  adequate  explanation  when  we  reflect  that 
here  is  a  people  receiving  a  little  lower  wages  than  usual 
for  less  desirable  work,  and  compelled,  in  order  to  do  that 
work,  to  live  in  a  little  less  pleasant  quarters  than  most 
people,  and  pay  for  them  somewhat  higher  rents. 

The  final  reason  of  the  concentration  of  Negroes  in 
certain  localities  is  a  social  one  and  one  peculiarly  strong : 
the  life  of  the  Negroes  of  the  city  has  for  years  centred  in 
the  Seventh  Ward  ;  here  are  the  old  churches,  St.  Thomas', 
Bethel,  Central,  Shiloh  and  Wesley  ,*  here  are  the  halls  of 
the  secret  societies ;  here  are  the  homesteads  of  old  families. 
To  a  race  socially  ostracised  it  means  far  more  to  move  to 

6  At  the  same  time,  from  long  custom  and  from  competition,  their 
-wages  for  this  work  are  not  high. 


Sect  44.]  Houses  and  Rent.  297 

remote  parts  of  a  city,  than  to  those  who  will  in  any  part 
of  the  city  easily  form  congenial  acquaintances  and  new  ties. 
The  Negro  who  ventures  away  from  the  mass  of  his  people 
and  their  organized  life,  finds  himself  alone,  shunned  and 
taunted,  stared  at  and  made  uncomfortable ;  he  can  make 
few  new  friends,  for  his  neighbors  however  well-disposed 
would  shrink  to  add  a  Negro  to  their  list  of  acquaint 
ances.  Thus  he  remains  far  from  friends  and  the  con 
centred  social  life  of  the  church,  and  feels  in  all  its 
bitterness  what  it  means  to  be  a  social  outcast.  Con 
sequently  emigration  from  the  ward  has  gone  in  groups  and 
centred  itself  about  some  church,  and  individual  initiative 
is  thus  checked.  At  the  same  time  color  prejudice  makes 
it  difficult  for  groups  to  find  suitable  places  to  move  to — 
one  Negro  family  would  be  tolerated  where  six  would  be 
objected  to ;  thus  we  have  here  a  very  decisive  hindrance 
to  emigration  to  the  suburbs. 

It  is  not  surprising  that  this  situation  leads  to  consider 
able  crowding  in  the  homes,  i.  e. ,  to  the  endeavor  to  get  as 
many  people  into  the  space  hired  as  possible.  It  is  this 
crowding  that  gives  the  casual  observer  many  false  notions 
as  to  the  size  of  Negro  families,  since  he  often  forgets  that 
every  other  house  has  its  sub-renters  and  lodgers.  It  is 
however  difficult  to  measure  this  crowding  on  account  of 
this  very  lodging  system  which  makes  it  very  often  un 
certain  as  to  just  the  number  of  rooms  a  given  group  of 
people  occupy.  In  the  following  table  therefore  it  is  likely 
that  the  number  of  rooms  given  is  somewhat  greater  than  is 
really  the  case  and  that  consequently  there  is  more  crowd 
ing  than  is  indicated.  This  error  however  could  not  be 
wholly  eliminated  under  the  circumstances  ;  a  study  of  the 
table  (page  298)  shows  that  in  the  Seventh  Ward  there  are 
9302  rooms  occupied  by  2401  families,  an  average  of  3.8 
rooms  to  a  family,  and  1.04  individuals  to  a  room.  A 
division  by  rooms  will  better  show  where  the  crowding 
comes  in. 


298 


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O 

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o 


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The  Environment  of  the  Negro.    [Chap.  XV. 


O  O  *o  rt-  1000  vo  ^  »o  o  co 

t^M   NOO   rot^corf  lOCO   O 
-- 


J3AO  pH 


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Sect.  45.]  Sections  and  Wards.  299 

Families  occupying  five  rooms  and  less:  1648,  total  rooms 
per  family,  2.17  ;  total  individuals  per  room,  1.53. 

Families  occupying  three  rooms  and  less:  1350,  total  rooms 
per  family,  1.63  ;  total  individuals  per  room,  1.85. 

The  worst  cases  of  crowding  are  as  follows : 

Two  cases  of  10  persons  in  i  room. 
One  case  of       9        "          i     ** 
Five  cases  of    7        "          i    " 
Six  cases  of       6        "         i     " 
Twenty-five  cases  of  5  persons  in  I  room. 
One  case  of    9  persons  in  2  rooms. 
One  case  of  16       "  3     " 

One  case  of  13       "  3      f< 

One  case  of  n       "  3      " 

As  said  before,  this  is  probably  something  under  the  real 
truth,  although  perhaps  not  greatly  so.  The  figures  show 
considerable  overcrowding,  but  not  nearly  as  much  as  is 
often  the  case  in  other  cities.  This  is  largely  due  to  the 
character  of  Philadelphia  houses,  which  are  small  and  low, 
and  will  not  admit  many  inmates.  Five  persons  in  one 
room  of  an  ordinary  tenement  would  be  almost  suffocating. 
The  large  number  of  one-room  tenements  with  two  persons 
should  be  noted.  These  573  families  are  for  the  most  part 
young  or  childless  couples,  sub-renting  a  bedroom  and 
working  in  the  city.7 

45.  Sections  and  Wards. — The  spread  of  Negro  popu 
lation  in  the  city  during  the  nineteenth  century  is  worth 
studying.  In  I793,8  one-fourth  of  the  black  inhabitants 
— or  538  persons — lived  north  of  Market  street  and  south 
of  Vine,  and  were  either  in  the  homes  of  white  families  as 

T  One  room  under  such  circumstances  may  not  by  any  means  denote 
excessive  poverty  or  indecency ;  the  room  is  usually  rented  in  a  good 
locality  and  is  well  furnished.  Cf.  note  3. 

8  During  the  plague  of  that  year  a  census  of  the  inhabitants  remain 
ing  in  the  city  was  taken.  Five-sixths  of  the  Negroes  remained,  so  the 
census  gives  a  good  idea  of  the  distribution  of  the  Negro  population. 
The  results  are  published  in  the  report  printed  afterward  by  order  of 
Councils. 


300 


The  Environment  of  the  Negro.    [Chap.  XV. 


servants,  or  in  the  alleys,  as  Shively's,  Pewter  Platter, 
Croomb's,  Sugar,  Cresson's,  etc.  Between  Market  and  South 
lived  one-half  of  the  blacks,  crowded  in  a  region  that  cen 
tred  at  Sixth  and  Lombard :  in  Strawberry  alley  and  lane, 
Elbow  lane,  Grey's  alley,  Shippen's  alley,  etc.,  besides  in 
the  families  of  the  whites  on  Walnut,  Spruce,  Pine,  etc. 
The  remaining  fourth  of  the  population  was  in  Southwark, 
south  of  South  street,  and  in  the  Northern  Liberties,  north 
of  Vine.  Details  are  given  in  the  next  table : 

NUMBER  AND  DISTRIBUTION  OF  THE  NEGRO  INHABITANTS  OF  PHII,A- 
DEI.PHIA  IN  1793 — OCTOBER  TO  DECEMBER. 

(Taken  from  the  Census  of  the  Plague  Committee.) 
BETWEEN  MARKET  AND  VINE  STREETS. 


Streets,  etc. 

Market 

Water 

Front 

Second  

Third 

Fourth  ..... 

Fifth 

Sixth 

Seventh    .... 

Eighth 

Ninth 

Arch 

Race 

Vine  (south  side) 

New 

Church  alley    .   . 


Negroes. 

63 

31 
40 
29 

37 
42 
24 
32 
8 

13 

3 
56 
38 

9 

3 

2 


Streets,  etc. 

Quarry 

Cherry  alley  .  ,  . 
South  alley  .  .  . 
North  alley  .... 
Sugar  alley  .... 
Appletree  alley  .  . 
Cresson's  alley  .  . 
Shively's  alley  .  . 
Pewter  Platter  alley 
Croomb's  alley  .  . 
Baker's  alley  .  .  . 
Brooks*  court  .  .  . 
Priest's  alley  .  .  . 
Says  alley  .... 


Total, 


BETWEEN  MARKET  AND  SOUTH  STREETS. 


Streets,  etc. 


Negroes. 


Streets,  etc. 


Water    ........          12 

Front.   ........        129 


Second 
Third.   . 
Fourth  . 
Fifth  .    . 

Sixth  .  . 
Seventh 
Eighth  . 

Ninth     . 


116 
66 
Si 
63 
37 
o 


Penn 

Chestnut 

Walnut 

Spruce 

Pine 

South  (north  side) 
Strawberry  lane  .    . 
Strawberry  alley     . 
Elbow  lane  .   .   .   . 
Beetles' alley   .   .   . 


Negroes. 

4 

25 

I 

4 
14 

7 

10 
ii 

3 

5 

7 
.  i 

6 

6 

538 

Negroes. 
II 
50 
83 
66 

3i 

32 

4 

2 

10 

5 


Sect.  45.] 


Sections  and  Wards. 


301 


Streets,  etc. 

Negroes.                Streets,  etc. 

Negroes. 

13             Willing's  alley    .   .   . 

I 

Norris  alley     

4             Blackberry  alley     .   . 

2 

Dock  

5              Carpenter  

7 

Union    

32             Gaskill  .   .   

7 

Cypress  alley  

i             Georges  to  South   .   . 

5 

Pear  

5             Little  Water    .   .   .   . 

5 

Lombard  ....... 

57             Stamper's  alley  .   .   , 

8 

Btnslie's  alley  

6             Taylor's  alley.     .    .   . 

i 

Laurel  court     

I             York  court  

7 

Shippen's  alley  .... 

26 



Total.  . 

1007 

NORTHERN  LIBERTIES. 

Streets,  etc,                       Negroes.                   Streets,  etc. 

Negroes, 

Water    . 

I             Green    

6 

Front  

59             Coates    ....... 

32 

Second  ........ 

41              Brown    

15 

Third     

I              Cable  lane    

I 

Fourth  

3             Stjohn    ...... 

6 

Fifth  

T              Stt  T^-mmany  r   .   .   . 

2 

Vine  (north  side)  .  .  . 

18             Willow  

I 

Callowhill    

10             Wood's  alley  .... 

I 

Noble,  or  Bloody  lane  . 

4             Crown    

3 

Artillery  lane  (or  Duke) 

26 



Total.  . 

233 

DISTRICT  OP  SOUTHWARD 

Streets,  etc. 

Negroes.                Streets,  etc. 

Negroes. 

Swanson   

6 

South  Penn  

3             Queen    ....... 

5 

Front  

Second  

3 

Third.   

5 

Fifth  

5              Moll  Tuller's  alley    . 

4 

Cedar  court  (south  side) 

19             George  ....... 

8 

Shippen    

50              Ball  alley  ...... 

3 

Almond  

Catharine  

33 



Total  .   . 

.    258 

SUMMARY. 

Between  Market  and  Vine  streets  

538 

Between  Market  and 

South  streets    

1007 

North  of  Vine  street 

233 

South  of  South  street  *   

,     258 

Total    . 

2036 

Total  inhabitants  of 

county  by  census  of  1790  .   .   .   . 

2489 

The  Environment  of  the  Negro.    [Chap.  XV. 


The  changes  from  1793  to  1838,  nearly  a  half  century, 
may  thus  be  shown: 


Place. 

1793. 

1838. 

City     

jr^r  —  75.O  % 

8462  —  60  fo 

Northern  I/iberties  

^ 

8781 

Kensington                      .       ... 

1    211  —  II.  ^^ 

"^Q  ?•  1744.  —  1^^ 

Spring  Garden     .... 

5°7  ) 

Southward    ....       .       ... 

Moyamensing  

}    258—13.5$ 

2  AC  A  [33^5  —  25/o 
^ 

^ 

Total  

20l6 

I3i  591  +5000  servants. 

Thus  we  see  in  1838  that  the  centre  of  Negro  population 
had  gone  southward  toward  Moyamensing.  The  Cedar, 
Locust,  Newmarket,  Pine  and  South  Wards,  as  they  were 
then  called,  had  the  bulk  of  the  population,  and  they  cor 
responded  approximately  to  the  Fourth,  Fifth,  Seventh  and 
Eighth  Wards  of  to-day. 

Ten  years  later  than  this,  in  1848^  we  have  a  more 
detailed  account  of  the  distribution  of  the  Negroes  in  the 
various  sections  of  the  city.  They  were  mostly  crowded 
into  narrow  courts  and  alleys.  The  colored  population 
north  of  Vine  and  east  of  Sixth  streets  consisted  of  272 
families  with  1285  persons.  One  hundred  and  one  families 
of  these  (415  persons)  lived  on  Apple  street  and  its  courts, 
and  in  PaschalPs  alley  (now  Lynd  street).  Apple  street 
itself,  including  Hick's  court,  had  37  families,  with  138 
persons,  living  in  16  houses;  Shotwell's  row,  on  the  same 
street,  had  16  families  with  65  persons  in  7  houses  ;  the 
rooms  were  about  8  feet  square.  Paschall's  alley  contained 
48  families  with  212  persons,  in  28  houses  ;  one  house  had 
7  families,  33  persons,  living  in  13  rooms,  8  feet  square. 
The  rent  of  the  whole  house  was  $266  per  year  ;  "  yet  all 
of  them  \i.  <?.,  these  families]  have  comfortable  beds  and 
bedding." 

About  a  third  of  the  total  Negro  population  of  Moya- 


8  The  figures  for  1838  and  18 
cf.  census  of  1840. 


are  from  the  inquiries  of  those  dates  ; 


Sect.  45.]  Sections  and  Wards. 


3°3 


mensing  (the  district  "  south  of  Cedar  street  and  west  of 
Passyunk  road 5>)  was  crowded  into  the  space  between  Fifth 
and  Eighth  streets,  and  Sonth  and  Fitzwater ;  for  instance : 

Families.  Families. 

Shippen  street 55      Black  Horse  alley  , 5 

Bedford  street  ........     63      Button's  court 9 

Small  street 73      Yeager's  court 9 

Baker  street 21      Dickerson's  court 5 

Seventh,  and  South,  streets  .  .      14      Britton's  court 5 

Spafford  street 16      Cryder's  court 4 

Freytag's  alley 9      Sherman's  court 13 

Prosperous  alley II  

Total 302 

"  It  is  in  this  district  and  in  the  adjoining  portion  of  the 
city,  especially  Mary  street  and  its  vicinity,  that  the  great 
destitntion  and  wretchedness  exist"  The  personal  property 
of  176  of  the  above  302  families  is  returned  as  $603.50,  or 
$3.43  per  family  ;  15  families  (42  persons)  on  Small  street 
(Alaska  street)  above  Sixth,  have  their  whole  property  val 
ued  at  $7.  Most  of  these  Negroes  were  rag-pickers,  and  29 
out  of  42  families  were  not  natives  of  the  State.  Mary 
street  and  its  courts  had  80  families,  with  281  persons  living 
in  35  houses.  Some  were  industrious  and  temperate,  but 
there  was  "much  surrounding  misery.' >  In  Gile's  alley 
(from  Cedar  to  Lombard  street)  were  42  families,  147  per 
sons,  in  20  houses.  Eighty-three  of  these  persons  were  not 
natives  of  the  State,  and  13  of  the  families  received  public 
charity.  A  description  of  this  district  in  1847  is  inte 
resting  : 

"  The  vicinity  of  the  place  we  sought  was  pointed  out 
by  a  large  number  of  colored  people  congregated  on  the 
neighboring  pavements.  We  first  inspected  the  rooms, 
yards  and  cellars  of  the  four  or  five  houses  next  above 
Baker  street  on  Seventh*  The  cellars  were  wretchedly 
dark,  damp  and  dirty,  and  were  generally  rented  for  twelve 
and  a  half  cents  per  night.  These  are  occupied  by  one  or 
more  families  at  the  present  time,  but  in  the  winter  season 
when  the  frost  drives  those  who  in  summer  sleep  abroad  in 


304  The  Environment  of  the  Negro.    [Chap.  XV. 

fields,  in  boardyards  and  in  sheds,  to  seek  more  effectual 
shelter,  they  often  contain  from  twelve  to  twenty  lodgers 
per  night  Commencing  at  the  back  of  each  house  are 
small  wooden  buildings  roughly  put  together,  about  six 
feet  square,  without  windows  or  fireplaces,  a  hole  about  a 
foot  square  being  left  in  front  along  side  of  the  door  to  let 
in  fresh  air  and  light,  and  to  let  out  foul  air  and  smoke. 
These  desolate  pens,  the  roofs  of  which  are  generally  leaky, 
and  their  floors  so  low  that  more  or  less  water  comes  in  on 
them  from  the  yard  in  rainy  weather,  would  not  give  com 
fortable  winter  accommodations  to  a  cow.  Although  as 
dismal  as  dirt,  damp  and  insufficient  ventilation  can  make 
them,  they  are  nearly  all  inhabited.  In  one  of  the  first  we 
entered,  we  found  the  dead  body  of  a  large  Negro  man 
who  had  died  suddenly  there.  This  pen  was  about  eight 
feet  deep  by  six  wide.  There  was  no  bedding  in  it,  but  a 
box  or  two  around  the  sides  furnished  places  where  two 
colored  persons,  one  said  to  be  the  wife  of  the  deceased, 
were  lying  either  drunk  or  fast  asleep.  The  body  of  the  dead 
man  was  on  the  wet  floor  beneath  an  old  torn  coverlet."  10 

In  1853  a  similar  description  of  the  crime,  filth  and 
poverty  of  this  district  shows  us  that  the  present  slums 
do  not  compare  with  those  in  misfortune  and  deprav 
ity.  u  Much  of  this  poverty  and  degradation  could  in 
1847  be  laid  at  the  door  of  the  new  immigrants,  and 
although  some  of  the  immigrants  were  in  good  circum 
stances,  yet  in  general  most  of  the  poverty  was  found 
where  most  of  the  immigrants  were.  The  immigrants 
formed  the  following  percentages  of  the  total  population  in 

1847: 

City 47.7  per  cent. 

Moyamensing 46.3  " 

Southwark 35.9  " 

West  Philadelphia 34.3  " 

Spring  Garden 31.4  " 

Northern  Liberties 14.2  " 

10  "  Condition  of  Negroes,"  1848,  pp.  34-41. 

11  "  Mysteries  and  Miseries  of  Philadelphia.'*    (Pamphlet) 


Sect.  45.]  Sections  and  Wards.  305 

The  historic  centre  of  Negro  settlement  in  the  city  can 
thus  be  seen  to  be  at  Sixth  and  Lombard.  From  this  point 
it  moved  north,  as  is  indicated  for  instance  by  the  estab 
lishment  of  Zoar  Church  in  1794.  Immigration  of  foreign 
ers  and  the  rise  of  industries,  however,  early  began  to  turn 
it  back  and  it  found  outlet  in  the  alleys  of  Southwark  and 
Moyarnensing.  For  a  while  about  1840  it  was  bottled  up 
here,  but  finally  it  began  to  move  west.  A  few  early  left 
the  mass  and  settled  in  West  Philadelphia ;  the  rest  began 
a  slow  steady  movement  along  Lombard  street.  The 
influx  of  1876  and  thereafter  sent  the  wave  across  Broad 
street  to  a  new  centre  at  Seventeenth  and  Lombard.  There 
it  divided  into  two  streams ;  one  went  north  and  joined 
remnants  of  the  old  settlers  in  the  Northern  Liberties  and 
Spring  Garden.  The  other  went  south  to  the  Twenty- 
sixth,  Thirtieth  and  Thirty-sixth  Wards.  Meantime  the 
new  immigrants  poured  in  at  Seventh  and  Lombard,  while 
Sixth  and  Lombard  down  to  the  Delaware  was  deserted  to 
the  Jews,  and  Moyamensing  partially  to  the  Italians. 
The  Irish  were  pushed  on  beyond  Eighteenth  to  the 
Schuylkill,  or  emigrated  to  the  mills  of  Kensington  and 
elsewhere.  The  course  may  be  thus  graphically  repre 
sented  (see  page  306) : 

This  migration  explains  much  that  is  paradoxical  about 
Negro  slums,  especially  their  present  remnant  at  Seventh 
and  Lombard.  Many  people  wonder  that  the  mission  and 
reformatory  agencies  at  work  there  for  so  many  years  have 
so  little  to  show  by  way  of  results.  One  answer  is  that 
this  work  has  new  material  continually  to  work  upon, 
while  the  best  classes  move  to  the  west  and  leave  the  dregs 
behind.  The  parents  and  grandparents  of  some  of  the 
best  families  of  Philadelphia  Negroes  were  born  in  the 
neighborhood  of  Sixth  and  Lombard  at  a  time  when  all 
Negroes,  good,  bad  and  indifferent,  were  confined  to  that 
and  a  few  other  localities.  With  the  greater  freedom  of 
domicile  which  has  since  coine,  these  slum  districts  have 


306 


The  Environment  of  the  Negro.    [Chap.  XV. 


sent  a  stream  of  emigrants  westward.  There  has,  too,  been 
a  general  movement  from  the  alleys  to  the  streets  and 
from  the  back  to  the  front  streets.  Moreover  it  is  untrue 

MIGRATION  OF  THE  NEGRO  POPULATION,  1790-1890. 


that  the  slums  of  Seventh  and  Lombard  have  not  greatly 
changed  in  character ;  compared  with  1840,  1850  or  even 
1870  these  slums  are  much  improved  in  every  way.  More 


Sect.  45.]  Sections  and  Wards. 

and  more  every  year  the  unfortunate  and  poor  are  being 
sifted  out  from  the  vicious  and  criminal  and  sent  to  better 
quarters. 

And  yet  with  all  the  obvious  improvement,  there  are  still 
slums  and  dangerous  slums  left.  Of  the  Fifth  Ward  and  ad 
joining  parts  of  the  Seventh,  a  city  health  inspector  says : 

"  Few  of  the  houses  are  underdrained,  and  if  the  closets 
have  sewer  connections  the  people  are  too  careless  to  keep 
them  in  order.  The  streets  and  alleys  are  strewn  with 
garbage,  excepting  immediately  after  the  visit  of  the  street 
cleaner.  Penetrate  into  one  of  these  houses  and  beyond 
into  the  back  yard,  if  there  is  one  (frequently  there  is  not), 
and  there  will  be  found  a  pile  of  ashes,  garbage  and  filth, 
the  accumulation  of  the  winter,  perhaps  of  the  whole  year. 
In  such  heaps  of  refuse  what  disease  germ  may  be  breed 
ing?-12 

To  take  a  typical  case : 

"  Gillis*  Alley,  famed  in  the  Police  Court,  is  a  narrow 
alley,  extending  from  Ix>mbard  street  through  to  South 
street,  above  Fifth  street,  cobbled  and  without  sewer  con 
nections.  Houses  and  stables  are  mixed  promiscuously. 
Buildings  are  of  frame  and  of  brick.  No.  —  looks  both 
outside  and  in  like  a  Southern  Negro's  cabin.  In  this 
miserable  place  four  colored  families  have  their  homes. 
The  aggregate  rent  demanded  is  $22  a  month,  though  the 
owner  seldom  receives  the  full  rent  For  three  small  dark 
rooms  in  the  rear  of  another  house  in  this  alley,  the  tenants 
pay,  and  have  paid  for  thirteen  years,  $11  a  month.  The 
entrance  is  by  a  court  not  over  two  feet  wide.  Except  at 
midday  the  sun  does  not  shine  in  the  small  open  space  in 
the  rear  that  answers  for  a  yard.  It  is  safe  to  say  that  not 
one  house  in  this  alley  could  pass  an  inspection  without 
being  condemned  as  prejudicial  to  health.  But  if  they  are 
so  condemned  and  cleaned,  with  such  inhabitants  how  long 
will  they  remain  clean?"  u 

12  Dr.  Frances  Van  Gasken  in  a  tract  published  by  tlie  Civic  Club. 
18  Ibid. 


308 


Environment  of  the  Negro.    [Chap.  XV. 


Some  of  the  present  characteristics  of  the  chief  alleys 
where  Negroes  live  are  given  in  the  following  table : 


I   §-d   «  1§  ij  a  •&     I 
I  IS   "  I!  S  *  I     3 


PB 


I!I 


g§  1 1  ?S  i 

fc  U 


JBO  50  -( 


•n  j» 
«S 

2a 

0£ 


«  I   «3 


?  -3 

"  S 


Old  W 
en  Ho 


01 

l^i. 


till 

-HT        I 


inj;qnoa  PUB 
jooj  is 


I 

rt 

s 

{25 

w 
« 


tn 

I, 

M     * 


•r<  CO 


'!  -• 

SC2 
»s 


i  S3THOH 


m 


k  Yard 
ements 


n         ! 

B      3i 


R     g      H' 


£ 
£ 


•ag 

cS  t) 

>  §        cO 


^ I       >*§ 

I     *a 
W     S^ 


"stands  PJB 


b-  u 

5  1 

•s       S 


o  £ 

§  5 

rt  *o 

W  TT* 

O  ^ 


8f   S 
S    ^ 


rf 

• 


•2.  *n 

)4    fw 


Sect.  46.]       Social  Classes  and  Amusements.  309 

The  general  characteristics  and  distribution  of  the  Negro 
population  at  present  in  the  different  wards  can  only  be 
indicated  in  general  terms.  The  wards  with  the  best  Negro 
population  are  parts  of  the  Seventh,  Twenty-sixth,  Thir 
tieth  and  Thirty-sixth,  Fourteenth,  Fifteenth,  Twenty- 
fourth,  Twenty-seventh  and  Twenty-ninth.  The  worst 
Negro  population  is  found  in  parts  of  the  Seventh,  and  in 
the  Fourth,  Fifth  and  Eighth.  In  the  other  wards  either 
the  classes  are  mixed  or  there  are  very  few  colored  people. 
The  tendency  of  the  best  migration  to-day  is  toward  the 
Twenty-sixth,  Thirtieth  and  Thirty-sixth  Wards,  and  West 
Philadelphia. 

46.  Social  Classes  and  Amusements. — Notwithstanding 
the  large  influence  of  the  physical  environment  of  home 
and  ward,  nevertheless  there  is  a  far  mightier  influence  to 
mold  and  make  the  citizen,  and  that  is  the  social  atmos 
phere  which  surrounds  him:  first  his  daily  companionship, 
the  thoughts  and  whims  of  his  class ;  then  his  recreations 
and  amusements ;  finally  the  surrounding  world  of  Ameri 
can  civilization,  which  the  Negro  meets  especially  in  his 
economic  life.  !Let  us  take  up  here  the  subject  of  social 
classes  and  amusements  among  Negroes,  reserving  for  the 
next  chapter  a  study  of  the  contact  of  the  Whites  and 
Blacks. 

There  is  always  a  strong  tendency  on  the  part  of  the 
community  to  consider  the  Negroes  as  composing  one 
practically  homogeneous  mass.  This  view  has  of  course 
a  certain  justification:  the  people  of  Negro  descent  in 
this  land  have  had  a  common  history,  suffer  to-day  com 
mon  disabilities,  and  contribute  to  one  general  set  of 
social  problems.  And  yet  if  the  foregoing  statistics  have 
emphasized  any  one  fact  it  is  that  wide  variations  in 
antecedents,  wealth,  intelligence  and  general  efficiency 
have  already  been  differentiated  within  this  group. 
These  differences  are  not,  to  be  sure,  so  great  or  so  patent 
as  those  among  the  whites  of  to-day,  and  yet  they  un- 


310  The  Environment  of  the  Negro.    [Cliap.  XV. 

doubtedly  equal  the  difference  among  the  masses  of  the 
people  in  certain  sections  of  the  land  fifty  or  one  hundred 
years  ago;  and  there  is  no  surer  way  of  misunderstanding  the 
Negro  or  being  misunderstood  by  him  than  by  ignoring 
manifest  differences  of  condition  and  power  in  the  40,000 
black  people  of  Philadelphia. 

And  yet  well-meaning  people  continually  do  this.  They 
regale  the  thugs  and  whoremongers  and  gamblers  of 
Seventh  and  Lombard  streets  with  congratulations  on  what 
the  Negroes  have  done  in  a  quarter  century,  and  pity  for 
their  disabilities ;  and  they  scold  the  caterers  of  Addison 
street  for  the  pickpockets  and  paupers  of  the  race.  A 
judge  of  the  city  courts,  who  for  years  has  daily  met  a 
throng  of  lazy  and  debased  Negro  criminals,  comes  from 
the  bench  to  talk  to  the  Negroes  about  their  criminals :  he 
warns  them  first  of  all  to  leave  the  slums  and  either  forgets 
or  does  not  know  that  the  fathers  of  the  audience  he  is 
speaking  to,  left  the  slums  when  he  was  a  boy  and  that  the 
people  before  him  are  as  distinctly  differentiated  from  the 
criminals  he  has  met,  as  honest  laborers  anywhere  differ 
from  thieves. 

Nothing  more  exasperates  the  better  class  of  Negroes 
than  this  tendency  to  ignore  utterly  their  existence.  The 
law-abiding,  hard-working  inhabitants  of  the  Thirtieth 
Ward  are  aroused  to  righteous  indignation  when  they  see 
that  the  word  Negro  carries  most  Philadelphians'  minds  to 
the  alleys  of  the  Fifth  Ward  or  the  police  courts.  Since 
so  much  misunderstanding  or  rather  forgetfulness  and  care 
lessness  on  this  point  is  common,  let  us  endeavor  to  try  and 
fix  with  some  definiteness  the  different  social  classes  which 
are  clearly  enough  defined  among  Negroes  to  deserve 
attention.  When  the  statistics  of  the  families  of  the 
Seventh  Ward  were  gathered,  each  family  was  put  in  one 
of  four  grades  as  follows : 

Grade  i.  Families  of  undoubted  respectability  earning 
sufficient  income  to  live  well ;  not  engaged  in  menial 


Sect.  46.]       Social  Classes  and  Amusements.  311 

service  of  any  kind ;  the  wife  engaged  in  no  occupation 
save  that  of  house-wife,  except  in  a  few  cases  where  she 
had  special  employment  at  home.  The  children  not  com 
pelled  to  be  bread-winners,  but  found  in  school ;  the  family 
living  in  a  well-kept  home. 

Grade  2.  The  respectable  working-class  ;  in  comfortable 
circumstances,  with  a  good  home,  and  having  steady 
remunerative  work.  The  younger  children  in  school. 

Grade  j.  The  poor;  persons  not  earning  enough  to 
keep  them  at  all  times  above  want;  honest,  although  not 
always  energetic  or  thrifty,  and  with  no  touch  of  gross 
immorality  or  crime.  Including  the  very  poor,  and  the 
poor. 

Grade  4.  The  lowest  class  of  criminals,  prostitutes  and 
loafers  ;  the  "  submerged  tenth.57 

Thus  we  have  in  these  four  grades  the  criminals,  the 
poor,  the  laborers,  and  the  well-to-do. u  The  last  class 
represents  the  ordinary  middle-class  folk  of  most  modern 
countries,  and  contains  the  germs  of  other  social  classes 
which  the  Negro  has  not  yet  clearly  differentiated.  Let 
us  begin  first  with  the  fourth  class. 

The  criminals  and  gamblers  are  to  be  found  at  such 
centres  as  Seventh  and  Lombard  streets,  Seventeenth  and 
Lombard,  Twelfth  and  Kater,  Eighteenth  and  Naudain^ 
etc.  Many  people  have  failed  to  notice  the  significant 
change  which  has  come  over  these  slums  in  recent  years  ; 
the  squalor  and  misery  and  dumb  suffering  of  1840  has 
passed,  and  in  its  place  have  come  more  baffling  and  sinister 
phenomena:  shrewd  laziness,  shameless  lewdness,  cunning" 

14  It  will  be  noted  that  this  classification  differs  materially  from  the 
economic  division  in  Chapter  XI.  In  that  case  grade  four  and  a  part  of 
three  appear  as  the  "  poor ; J>  grade  two  and  the  rest  of  gratie  three,  as 
the  "fair  to  comfortable ; n  and  a  few  of  grade  two  and  grade  one  as  the 
well-to-do.  The  basis  of  division  there  was  almost  entirely  according  to 
income;  this  division  brings  in  moral  considerations  and  questions  of 
expenditure,  and  consequently  reflects  more  largely  the  personal  judg 
ment  of  the  investigator. 


312  The  Environment  of  the  Negro.    [Chap.  XV. 

crime.  The  loafers  who  line  the  curbs  in  these  places  are 
no  fools,  but  sharp,  wily  men  who  often  outwit  both  the 
Police  Department  and  the  Department  of  Charities.  Their 
nucleus  consists  of  a  class  of  professional  criminals,  who 
do  not  work,  figure  in  the  rogues'  galleries  of  a  half-dozen 
cities,  and  migrate  here  and  there.  About  these  are  a  set 
of  gamblers  and  sharpers  who  seldom  are  caught  in  serious 
crime,  but  who  nevertheless  live  from  its  proceeds  and  aid 
and  abet  it.  The  headquarters  of  all  these  are  usually  the 
political  clubs  and  pool-rooms;  they  stand  ready  to  entrap 
the  unwary  and  tempt  the  weak.  Their  organization,  tacit 
or  recognized,  is  very  effective,  and  no  one  can  long  watch 
their  actions  without  seeing  that  they  keep  in  close  touch 
with  the  authorities  in  some  way.  Affairs  will  be  gliding 
on  lazily  some  summer  afternoon  at  the  corner  of  Seventh 
and  Lombard  streets  ;  a  few  loafers  on  the  corners,  a  pros 
titute  here  and  there,  and  the  Jew  and  Italian  plying  their 
trades.  Suddenly  there  is  an  oath,  a  sharp  altercation,  a 
blow ;  then  a  hurried  rush  of  feet,  the  silent  door  of  a 
neighboring  club  closes,  and  when  the  policeman  arrives 
only  the  victim  lies  bleeding  on  the  sidewalk  ;  or  at  mid 
night  the  drowsy  quiet  will  be  suddenly  broken  by  the 
cries  and  quarreling  of  a  half-drunken  gambling  table  ; 
then  comes  the  sharp,  quick  crack  of  pistol  shots — a  scur 
rying  in  the  darkness,  and  only  the  wounded  man  lies 
awaiting  the  patrol-wagon.  If  the  matter  turns  out  seri 
ously,  the  police  know  where  in  Minster  street  and  Middle 
alley  to  look  for  the  aggressor ;  often  they  find  him,  but 
sometimes  not.15 

The  size  of  the  more  desperate  class  of  criminals  and 
their  shrewd  abettors  is  of  course  comparatively  small,  but 
it  is  large  enough  to  characterize  the  slum  districts. 
Around  this  central  body  lies  a  large  crowd  of  satellites 

15  The  investigator  resided  at  tlie  College  Settlement,  Seventh  and  Ix>m- 
bard  streets,  some  months,  and  thus  had  an  opportunity  to  observe  this 
slum  carefully. 


Sect.  46.]        Social  Classes  and  Amusements.  313 

and  feeders:  young  idlers  attracted  by  excitement,  shift 
less  and  lazy  ne'er-do-wells,  who  have  sunk  from  better 
things,  and  a  rough  crowd  of  pleasure  seekers  and  liber 
tines.  These  are  the  fellows  who  figure  in  the  police 
courts  for  larceny  and  fighting,  and  drift  thus  into  graver 
crime  or  shrewder  dissoluteness.  They  are  usually  far 
more  ignorant  than  their  leaders,  and  rapidly  die  out  from 
disease  and  excess.  Proper  measures  for  rescue  and  reform 
might  save  many  of  this  class.  Usually  they  are  not 
natives  of  the  city,  but  immigrants  who  have  wandered 
from  the  small  towns  of  the  South  to  Richmond  and 
Washington  and  thence  to  Philadelphia.  Their  environ 
ment  in  this  city  makes  it  easier  for  them  to  live  by  crime 
or  the  results  of  crime  than  by  work,  and  being  without 
ambition — or  perhaps  having  lost  ambition  and  grown 
bitter  with  the  world — they  drift  with  the  stream. 

One  large  element  of  these  slums,  a  class  we  have  barely 
mentioned,  are  the  prostitutes.  It  is  difficult  to  get  at  any 
satisfactory  data  concerning  such  a  class,  but  an  attempt 
has  been  made.  There  were  in  1896  fifty-three  Negro 
women  in  the  Seventh  Ward  known  on  pretty  satisfactory 
evidence  to  be  supported  wholly  or  largely  by  the  proceeds 
of  prostitution ;  and  it  is  probable  that  this  is  not  half  the 
real  number  ;16  these  fifty-three  were  of  the  following  ages  : 

14  to  19 2 

20  to  24 ii 

25  to  29 9 

30  to  39 17 

40  to  49 3 

50  and  over  . 2 

Unknown   . ,    .  9 

Total 53 

Seven  of  these  women  had  small  children  with  them  and 
Tiad  probably  been  betrayed,  and  had  then  turned  to  this 


K  These  figures  were  taken  during  the  inquiry  by  the  viator  to  the 
houses. 


314  The  Environment  of  the  Negro.    [Chap.  XV. 

sort  of  life.  There  were  fourteen  recognized  bawdy 
houses  in  the  ward ;  ten  of  them  were  private  dwellings 
where  prostitutes  lived  and  were  not  especially  fitted  up, 
although  male  visitors  frequented  them.  Four  of  the 
houses  were  regularly  fitted  up,  with  elaborate  furniture, 
and  in  one  or  two  cases  had  young  and  beautiful  girls  on 
exhibition.  All  of  these  latter  were  seven-  or  eight-room 
houses  for  which  $26  to  $30  a  month  was  paid.  They  are 
pretty  well-known  resorts,  but  are  not  disturbed.  In  the 
slums  the  lowest  class  of  street  walkers  abound  and  ply 
their  trade  among  Negroes,  Italians  and  Americans.  One 
can  see  men  following  them  into  alleys  in  broad  daylight. 
They  usually  have  male  associates  whom  they  support 
and  who  join  them  in  "  badger  "  thieving.  Most  of  them 
are  grown  women  though  a  few  cases  of  girls  under  sixteen 
have  been  seen  on  the  street. 

This  fairly  characterizes  the  lowest  class  of  Negroes. 
According  to  the  inquiry  in  the  Seventh  Ward  at  least 
138  families  were  estimated  as  belonging  to  this  class  out 
of  2395  reported,  or  5.8  per  cent  This  would  include 
between  five  and  six  hundred  individuals.  Perhaps  this 
number  reaches  1000  if  the  facts  were  known,  but  the 
evidence  at  hand  furnishes  only  the  number  stated.  In  the 
whole  city  the  number  may  reach  3000,  although  there  is 
little  data  for  an  estimate.17 

The  next  class  are  the  poor  and  unfortunate  and  the 
casual  laborers ;  most  of  these  are  of  the  class  of  Negroes 
who  in  the  contact  with  the  life  of  a  great  city  have 
failed  to  find  an  assured  place.  They  include  immi 
grants  who  cannot  get  steady  work;  good-natured,  but 
unreliable  and  shiftless  persons  who  cannot  keep  work  or 
spend  their  earnings  thoughtfully  ;  those  who  have  suffered 
accident  and  misfortune ;  the  maimed  and  defective  classes, 

17  This  includes  not  simply  the  actual  criminal  class,  but  its  aiders  and 
abettors,  and  the  class  intimately  associated  with  it.  It  would,  for 
instance,  include  much  more  than  Charles  Booth's  class  A  in  I/ondon. 


Sect.  46.]        Social  Classes  and  Amusements.  315 

and  the  sick  ;  many  widows  and  orphans  and  deserted 
wives  ;  all  these  form  a  large  class  and  are  here  considered. 
It  is  of  course  very  difficult  to  separate  the  lowest  of  this 
class  from  the  one  below,  and  probably  many  are  included 
here  who,  if  the  truth  were  known,  ought  to  be  classed 
lower.  In  most  cases,  however,  they  have  been  given  the 
benefit  of  the  doubt  The  lowest  ones  of  this  class  usually 
live  in  the  slums  and  back  streets,  and  next  door,  or  in 
the  same  house  often,  with  criminals  and  lewd  women. 
Ignorant  and  easily  influenced,  they  readily  go  with  the 
tide  and  now  rise  to  industry  and  decency,  now  fall  to 
crime.  Others  of  this  class  get  on  fairly  well  in  good 
times,  but  never  get  far  ahead.  They  are  the  ones  who 
earliest  feel  the  weight  of  hard  times  and  their  latest 
blight.  Some  correspond  to  the  "worthy  pdor"  of  most 
charitable  organizations,  and  some  fall  a  little  below  that 
class.  The  children  of  this  class  are  the  feeders  of  the 
criminal  classes.  Often  in  the  same  family  one  can  find 
respectable  and  striving  parents  weighed  down  by  idle, 
impudent  sons  and  wayward  daughters.  This  is  partly 
because  of  poverty,  more  because  of  the  poor  home  life.  In 
the  Seventh  Ward  303^  per  cent  of  the  families  or  728 
may  be  put  into  this  class,  including  the  very  poor,  the 
poor  and  those  who  manage  just  to  make  ends  meet  in 
good  times.  In  the  whole  city  perhaps  ten  to  twelve 
thousand  Negroes  fall  in  this  third  social  grade. 

Above  these  come  the  representative  Negroes ;  the  mass 
of  the  servant  class,  the  porters  and  waiters,  and  the  best 
of  the  laborers.  They  are  hard-working  people,  proverb 
ially  good-natured ;  lacking  a  little  in  foresight  and  fore- 
handedness,  and  in  "  push."  They  are  honest  and  faithful^ 
of  fair  and  improving  morals,  and  beginning  to  accumulate 
property.  The  great  drawback  to  this  class  is  lack  of 
congenial  occupation  especially  among  the  young  men  and 
women,  and  the  consequent  wide-spread  dissatisfaction  and 
complaint.  As  a  class  these  persons  are  ambitious ;  the 


316  The  Environment  of  the  Negro.    [Chap.  XV. 

majority  can  read  and  write,  many  have  a  common  school 
training,  and  all  are  anxious  to  rise  in  the  world.  Their 
wages  are  low  compared  with  corresponding  classes  of 
white  workmen,  their  rents  are  high,  and  the  field  of 
advancement  opened  to  them  is  very  limited.  The  best 
expression  of  the  life  of  this  group  is  the  Negro  church, 
where  their  social  life  centres,  and  where  they  discuss 
their  situation  and  prospects. 

A  note  of  disappointment  and  discouragement  is  often 
heard  at  these  discussions  and  their  work  suffers  from  a 
growing  lack  of  interest  in  it.  Most  of  them  are  probably 
best  fitted  for  the  work  they  are  doing,  but  a  large 
percentage  deserve  better  ways  to  display  their  talent,  and 
better  remuneration.  The  whole  class  deserves  credit  for 
its  bold  advance  in  the  midst  of  discouragements,  and  for 
the  distinct  moral  improvement  in  their  family  life  during 
the  last  quarter  century.  These  persons  form  56  per  cent 
or  1,252  of  the  families  of  the  Seventh  Ward,  and  include 
perhaps  25,000  of  the  Negroes  of  the  city.  They  live  in 
5— xo-room  houses,  and  usually  have  lodgers.  The  houses 
are  always  well  furnished  with  neat  parlors  and  some 
musical  instrument.  Sunday  dinners  and  small  parties, 
together  with  church  activities,  make  up  their  social  inter 
course.  Their  chief  trouble  is  in  finding  suitable  careers 
for  their  growing  children. 

Finally  we  come  to  the  277  families,  11.5  per  cent  of 
those  of  the  Seventh  Ward,  and  including  perhaps  3,000 
Negroes  in  the  city,  who  form  the  aristocracy  of  the  Negro 
population  in  education,  wealth  and  general  social  effi 
ciency.  In  many  respects  it  is  right  and  proper  to  judge  a 
people  by  its  best  classes  rather  than  by  its  worst  classes  or 
middle  ranks.  The  highest  class  of  any  group  represents 
its  possibilities  rather  than  its  exceptions,  as  is  so  often 
assumed  in  regard  to  the  Negro.  The  colored  people  are 
seldom  judged  by  their  best  classes,  and  often  the  very 
existence  of  classes  among  them  is  ignored.  This  is 


Sect.  46.]       Social  Classes  and  Amusements.  317 

partly  due  in  the  North  to  the  anomalous  position  of  those 
who  compose  this  class ;  they  are  not  the  leaders  or  the 
ideal-makers  of  their  own  group  in  thought,  work,  or 
morals.  They  teach  the  masses  to  a  very  small  extent, 
mingle  with  them  but  little,  do  not  largely  hire  their 
labor.  Instead  then  of  social  classes  held  together  by 
strong  ties  of  mutual  interest  we  have  in  the  case  of  the 
Negroes,  classes  who  have  much  to  keep  them  apart,  and 
only  community  of  blood  and  color  prejudice  to  bind  them 
together.  If  the  Negroes  were  by  themselves  either  a 
strong  aristocratic  system  or  a  dictatorship  would  for  the 
present  prevail.  With,  however,  democracy  thus  prema 
turely  thrust  upon  them,  the  first  impulse  of  the  best,  the 
wisest  and  richest  is  to  segregate  themselves  from  the  mass. 
This  action,  however,  causes  more  of  dislike  and  jealousy 
on  the  part  of  the  masses  than  usual,  because  those  masses 
look  to  the  whites  for  ideals  and  largely  for  leadership.  It 
is  natural  therefore  that  even  to-day  the  mass  of  Negroes 
should  look  upon  the  worshipers  at  St.  Thomas'  and 
Central  as  feeling  themselves  above  them,  and  should  dis 
like  them  for  it.  On  the  other  hand  it  is  just  as  natural 
for  the  well-educated  and  well-to-do  Negroes  to  feel  them 
selves  far  above  the  criminals  and  prostitutes  of  Seventh 
and  Lombard  streets,  and  even  above  the  servant  girls  and 
porters  of  the  middle  class  of  workers.  So  far  they  are 
justified  ;  but  they  make  their  mistake  in  failing  to  recog 
nize  thatjhowever  laudable  an  ambition  to  rise  may  be,  the 
first  duty  of  an  upper  class  is  to  serve  the  lowest  classes- 
The  aristocracies  of  all  peoples  have  been  slow  in  learning 
this  and  perhaps  the  Negro  is  no  slower  than  the  rest,  but 
his  peculiar  situation  demands  that  in  his  case  this  lesson  be 
learned  sooner.  Naturally  the  uncertain  economic  status 
even  of  this  picked  class  makes  it  difficult  for  them  to 
spare  much  time  and  energy  in  social  reform  ;  compared 
with  their  fellows  they  are  rich,  but  compared  with  white 


31 8  The  Environment  of  the  Negro.     [Chap.  XV. 

Americans  they  are  poor,  and  they  can  hardly  fulfill  their 
duty  as  the  leaders  of  the  Negroes  until  they  are  captains 
of  industry  over  their  people  as  well  as  richer  and  wiser. 
To-day  the  professional  class  among  them  is,  compared 
with  other  callings,  rather  over-represented,  and  all  have  a 
struggle  to  maintain  the  position  they  have  won. 

This  class  is  itself  an  answer  to  the  question  of  the 
ability  of  the  Negro  to  assimilate  American  culture.  It  is 
a  class  small  in  numbers  and  not  sharply  differentiated 
from  other  classes,  although  sufficiently  so  to  be  easily 
recognized.  Its  members  are  not  to  be  met  with  in  the 
ordinary  assemblages  of  the  Negroes,  nor  in  their  usual 
promenading  places.  They  are  largely  Philadelphia  born, 
and  being  descended  from  the  house-servant  class,  contain 
many  mulattoes.  In  their  assemblies  there  are  evidences 
of  good  breeding  and  taste,  so  that  a  foreigner  would 
hardly  think  of  ex-slaves.  They  are  not  to  be  sure  people 
of  wide  culture  and  their  mental  horizon  is  as  limited  as 
that  of  the  first  families  in  a  country  town.  Here  and 
there  may  be  noted,  too,  some  faint  trace  of  careless  moral 
training.  On  the  whole  they  strike  one  as  sensible, 
good  folks.  Their  conversation  turns  on  the  gossip  of 
similar  circles  among  the  Negroes  of  Washington,  Bos 
ton  and  New  York ;  on  questions  of  the  day,  and,  less 
willingly,  on  the  situation  of  the  Negro.  Strangers 
secure  entrance  to  this  circle  with  difficulty  and  only  by 
introduction.  For  an  ordinary  white  person  it  would 
be  almost  impossible  to  secure  introduction  even  by  a 
friend.  Once  in  a  while  some  well-known  citizen  meets  a 
company  of  this  class,  but  it  is  hard  for  the  average  white 
American  to  lay  aside  his  patronizing  way  toward  a  Negro, 
and  to  talk  of  aught  to  him  but  the  Negro  question ;  the 
lack,  therefore,  of  common  ground  even  for  conversation 
makes  such  meetings  rather  stiff  and  not  often  repeated. 
Fifty-two  of  these  families  keep  servants  regularly ;  they 


Sect.  46.]        Social  Classes  and  Amusements. 


3*9 


live  in  well-appointed  homes,  which  give  evidence  of  taste 
and  even  luxury.18 

Something  must  be  said,  before  leaving  this  subject,  of 
the  amusements  of  the  Negroes.  Among  the  fourth  grade 
and  the  third,  gambling,  excursions,  balls  and  cake-walks 
are  the  chief  amusements.  The  gambling  instinct  is  wide 
spread,  as  in  all  low  classes,  and,  together  with  sexual 
looseness,  is  their  greatest  vice ;  it  is  carried  on  in  clubs, 
in  private  houses,  in  pool-rooms  and  on  the  street.  Public 
gambling  can  be  found  at  a  dozen  different  places  every 
night  at  full  tilt  in  the  Seventh  Ward,  and  almost  any 
stranger  can  gain  easy  access.  Games  of  pure  chance  are 
preferred  to  those  of  skill,  and  in  the  larger  clubs  a  sort  of 
three-card  monte  is  the  favorite  game,  played  with  a  dealer 
who  gambles  against  all  comers.  In  private  houses  in  the 
slums,  cards,  beer  and  prostitutes  can  always  be  found.  In 
the  public  pool-rooms  there  is  some  quiet  gambling  and 
playing  for  prizes.  For  the  new  comer  to  the  city  the 
only  open  places  of  amusement  are  these  pool-rooms  and 
gambling  clubs  ;  here  are  crowds  of  young  fellows,  and 


18  A  comparison  of  the  size  of  families  in  the  highest  and  lowest  class 
may  be  of  interest: 


Number  in  Family. 

First  Grade. 

Fourth  Grade. 

22  —     %% 

17  —  1-2% 

56  —  24$ 

58  —  42^ 

Three          .                      

54  —  19$ 

27  —  20% 

48) 

21) 

2S  !•  —  33  J& 

6^—24^ 

Six              ....        .    .           ,   . 

I8J 

6j 

201 

21 

Eiffht                 *                

1\—  12$ 

ol  —  2% 

Nine                    .       .    .                   

5J 

ij 

Ten                            

7") 

0} 

O  [    A.%% 

0    1  Q% 

5  J 

o) 

Total  -    -    ,    

277 

138 

Average  size  of  family,  first  grade,  4.07  #;  fourth  grade,  2.08$. 
This  certainly  looks  like  the  survival  of  the  fittest,  and  is  hardly  an 
argument  for  the  extinction  of  the  civilized  Negro. 


320  The  Environment  of  the  Negro.    [Chap.  XV. 

once  started  in  this  company  no  one  can  say  where  they 
may  not  end. 

The  most  innocent  amusements  of  this  class  are  the  balls 
and  cake-walks,  although  they  are  accompanied  by  much 
drinking,  and  are  attended  by  white  and  black  prostitutes^ 
The  cake-walk  is  a  rhythmic  promenade  or  slow  dance,  and 
when  well  done  is  pretty  and  quite  innocent.  Excursions 
are  frequent  in  summer,  and  are  accompanied  often  by  much 
fighting  and  drinking. 

The  mass  of  the  laboring  Negroes  get  their  amusement  in 
connection  with  the  churches.  There  are  suppers,  fairs, 
concerts,  socials  and  the  like.  Dancing  is  forbidden  by 
most  of  the  churches,  and  many  of  the  stricter  sort  would 
not  think  of  going  to  balls  or  theatres.  The  younger  set, 
however,  dance,  although  the  parents  seldom  accompany 
them,  and  the  hours  kept  are  late,  making  it  often  a  dissi 
pation.  Secret  societies  and  social  clubs  add  to  these 
amusements  by  balls  and  suppers,  and  there  are  numbers 
of  parties  at  private  houses.  This  class  also  patronizes  fre 
quent  excursions  given  by  churches  and  Sunday  schools 
and  secret  societies  ;  they  are  usually  well  conducted,  but 
cost  a  great  deal  more  than  is  necessary.  The  money 
wasted  in  excursions  above  what  would  be  necessary  for  a 
day's  outing  and  plenty  of  recreation,  would  foot  up  many 
thousand  dollars  in  a  season. 

In  the  upper  class  alone  has  the  home  begun  to  be 
the  centre  of  recreation  and  amusement.  There  are  always 
to  be  found  parties  and  small  receptions,  and  gatherings  at 
the  invitations  of  musical  or  social  clubs.  One  large  ball 
each  year  is  usually  given,  which  is  strictly  private.  Guests 
from  out  of  town  are  given  much  social  attention. 

Among  nearly  all  classes  of  Negroes  there  is  a  large  un 
satisfied  demand  for  amusement.  Large  numbers  of  servant 
girls  and  young  men  have  flocked  to  the  city,  have  no  homes, 
and  want  places  to  frequent.  The  churches  supply  this  need 
partially,  but  the  institution  which  will  supply  this  want 


Sect.  46.]         Social  Classes  and  Amusements.  321 

better  and  add  instruction  and  diversion,  will  save  many 
girls  from  ruin  and  boys  from  crime.  There  is  to-day  little 
done  in  places  of  public  amusement  to  protect  colored 
girls  from  designing  men.  Many  of  the  idlers  and  rascals 
of  the  slums  play  on  the  affections  of  silly  servant  girls> 
and  either  ruin  them  or  lead  them  into  crime,  or  more 
often  live  on  a  part  of  their  wages.  There  are  many  cases 
of  this  latter  system  to  be  met  in  the  Seventh  Ward. 

It  is  difficult  to  measure  amusements  in  any  enlightening 
way.  A  count  of  the  amusements  reported  by  the  Tribune^ 
the  chief  colored  paper,  which  reports  for  a  select  part  of 
the  laboring  class,  and  the  upper  class,  resulted  as  follows 
for  nine  weeks:19 

Parties  at  liomes  in  liotior  of  visitors     .........  16 

**         **   liomes    .    .    „ ii 

'*         *'         **       with  dancing    „ 10 

Balls  in  halls 10 

Concerts  in  churches 7 

Church  suppers,  etc 7 

Weddings , 7 

Birthday  parties 7 

Ivectures  and  literary  entertainments  at  chnrches   ...  6 

Card  parties 4 

Fairs  at  churches 3 

Lawn  parties  and  picnics 3 

91 

These,  of  course,  are  the  larger  parties  in  the  whole  city, 
and  do  not  include  the  numerous  small  church  socials  and 
gatherings.  The  proportions  here  are  largely  accidental, 
but  the  list  is  instructive. 


19  These  weeks  were  not  consecutive  but  taken  at  random. 


CHAPTER  XVI. 

THE   CONTACT  OF  THE   RACES. 

47.  Color  Prejudice. — Incidentally  throughout  this 
study  the  prejudice  against  the  Negro  has  been  again  and 
again  mentioned.  It  is  time  now  to  reduce  this  somewhat 
indefinite  term  to  something  tangible.  Everybody  speaks 
of  the  matter,  everybody  knows  that  it  exists,  but  in  just 
what  form  it  shows  itself  or  how  influential  it  is  few  agree. 
In  the  Negro's  mind,  color  prejudice  in  Philadelphia  is 
that  widespread  feeling  of  dislike  for  his  blood,  which  keeps 
him  and  his  children  out  of  decent  employment,  from  cer 
tain  public  conveniences  and  amusements,  from  hiring 
nouses  in  many  sections,  and  in  general,  from  being  recog 
nized  as  a  man.  Negroes  regard  this  prejudice  as  the  chief 
cause  of  their  present  unfortunate  condition.  On  the  other 
hand  most  white  people  are  quite  unconscious  of  any  such 
powerful  and  vindictive  feeling ;  they  regard  color  preju 
dice  as  the  easily  explicable  feeling  that  intimate  social 
intercourse  with  a  lower  race  is  not  only  undesirable  but 
impracticable  if  our  present  standards  of  culture  are  to 
be  maintained ;  and  although  they  are  aware  that  some 
people  feel  the  aversion  more  intensely  than  others,  they 
cannot  see  how  such  a  feeling  has  much  influence  on  the 
real  situation  or  alters  the  social  condition  of  the  mass  of 
Negroes. 

As  a  matter  of  fact,  color  prejudice  in  this  city  is 
something  between  these  two  extreme  views :  it  is  not 
to-day  responsible  for  all,  or  perhaps  the  greater  part  of 
the  Negro  problems,  or  of  the  disabilities  under  which  the 
race  labors  ;  on  the  other  hand  It  is  a  far  more  powerful 
social  force  than  most  Philadelphians  realize.  The  prac- 

(322) 


Sect  47-]  Color  Prejudice.  323 

tical  results  of  the  attitude  of  most  of  the  inhabitants 
of  Philadelphia  toward  persons  of  Negro  descent  are  as 
follows  : 

1.  As  to  getting  work : 

No  matter  how  well  trained  a  Negro  may  be,  or  how 
fitted  for  work  of  any  kind,  he  cannot  in  the  ordinary 
course  of  competition  hope  to  be  much  more  than  a  menial 
servant. 

He  cannot  get  clerical  or  supervisory  work  to  do  save  in 
exceptional  cases. 

He  cannot  teach  save  in  a  few  of  the  remaining  Negro 
schools. 

He  cannot  become  a  mechanic  except  for  small  transient 
jobs,  and  cannot  join  a  trades  union. 

A  Negro  woman  has  but  three  careers  open  to  her  in 
this  city :  domestic  service,  sewing,  or  married  life. 

2.  As  to  keeping  work : 

The  Negro  suffers  in  competition  more  severely  than 
white  men. 

Change  in  fashion  is  causing  him  to  be  replaced  by  whites 
in  the  better  paid  positions  of  domestic  service. 

Whim  and  accident  will  cause  him  to  lose  a  hard-earned 
place  more  quickly  than  the  same  things  would  affect  a 
white  man. 

Being  few  in  number  compared  with  the  whites  the 
crime  or  carelessness  of  a  few  of  his  race  is  easily  imputed 
to  all,  and  the  reputation  of  the  good,  industrious  and 
reliable  suffer  thereby. 

Because  Negro  workmen  may  not  often  work  side  by 
side  with  white  workmen,  the  individual  black  workman 
is  rated  not  by  his  own  efficiency,  but  by  the  efficiency  of 
a  whole  group  of  black  fellow  workmen  which  may  often 
be  low. 

Because  of  these  difficulties  which  virtually  increase 
•competition  in  his  case,  he  is  forced  to  take  lower  wages 
for  the  same  work  than  white  workmen. 


324  The  Contact  of  the  Races.       [Chap.  XVL 

3.  As  to  entering  new  lines  of  work  : 

Men  are  used  to  seeing  Negroes  in  inferior  positions ; 
when,  therefore,  by  any  chance  a  Negro  gets  in  a  better 
position,  most  men  immediately  conclude  that  he  is  not 
fitted  for  it,  even  before  he  has  a  chance  to  show  his  fitness. 

If,  therefore,  he  set  up  a  store,  men  will  not  patronize 
him. 

If  he  is  put  into  public  position  men  will  complain. 

If  he  gain  a  position  in  the  commercial  world,  men  will 
quietly  secure  his  dismissal  or  see  that  a  white  man  suc 
ceeds  him. 

4.  As  to  his  expenditure  : 

The  comparative  smallness  of  the  patronage  of  the 
Negro,  and  the  dislike  of  other  customers  makes  it  usual 
to  increase  the  charges  or  difficulties  in  certain  directions 
in  which  a  Negro  must  spend  money. 

He  must  pay  more  house-rent  for  worse  houses  than 
most  white  people  pay. 

He  is  sometimes  liable  to  insult  or  reluctant  service  in 
some  restaurants,  hotels  and  stores,  at  public  resorts, 
theatres  and  places  of  recreation  ;  and  at  nearly  all  barber 
shops. 

5.  As  to  his  children  : 

The  Negro  finds  it  extremely  difficult  to  rear  children  in 
such  an  atmosphere  and  not  have  them  either  cringing  or 
impudent :  if  he  impresses  upon  them  patience  with  their 
lot,  they  may  grow  up  satisfied  with  their  condition ;  if  he 
inspires  them  with  ambition  to  rise,  they  may  grow  to 
despise  their  own  people,  hate  the  whites  and  become 
embittered  with  the  world. 

His  children  are  discriminated  against,  often  in  public 
schools. 

They  are  advised  when  seeking  employment  to  become 
waiters  and  maids. 

They  are  liable  to  species  of  insult  and  temptation 
peculiarly  trying  to  children. 


Sect.  47.]  Color  Prejudice.  325 

6.  As  to  social  intercourse : 

In  all  walks  of  life  the  Negro  is  liable  to  meet  some 
objection  to  his  presence  or  some  discourteous  treatment ; 
and  the  ties  of  friendship  or  memory  seldom  are  strong 
enough  to  hold  across  the  color  line. 

If  an  invitation  is  issued  to  the  public  for  any  occasion, 
the  Negro  can  never  know  whether  he  would  be  welcomed 
or  not ;  if  he  goes  he  is  liable  to  have  his  feelings  hurt  and 
get  into  unpleasant  altercation  ;  if  he  stays  away,  he  is 
blamed  for  indifference. 

If  he  meet  a  lifelong  white  friend  on  the  street,  he  is  in 
a  dilemma  ;  if  he  does  not  greet  the  friend  he  is  put  down 
as  boorish  and  impolite  ;  if  he  does  greet  the  friend  he  is 
liable  to  be  flatly  snubbed. 

If  by  chance  he  is  introduced  to  a  white  woman  or  man, 
he  expects  to  be  ignored  on  the  next  meeting,  and  usually  is. 

White  friends  may  call  on  him,  but  he  is  scarcely 
expected  to  call  on  them,  save  for  strictly  business  matters. 

If  he  gain  the  affections  of  a  white  woman  and  marry 
her  he  may  invariably  expect  that  slurs  will  be  thrown  on 
her  reputation  and  on  his,  and  that  both  his  and  her  race 
will  shun  their  company.1 

When  he  dies  he  cannot  be  buried  beside  white  corpses. 

7.  The  result: 

Any  one  of  these  things  happening  now  and  then  would 
not  be  remarkable  or  call  for  especial  comment ;  but  when 
one  group  of  people  suffer  all  these  little  differences  of 
treatment  and  discriminations  and  insults  continually,  the 
result  is  either  discouragement,  or  bitterness,  or  over-sensi 
tiveness,  or  recklessness.  And  a  people  feeling  thus  cannot 

do  their  best. 

Presumably  the  first  impulse  of  the  average  Philadelphian 
would  be  emphatically  to  deny  any  such  marked  and 
blighting  discrimination  as  the  above  against  a  group  o£ 
citizens  in  this  metropolis.  Every  one  knows  that  in  the 

1  Cf.  Section  49. 


326  The  Contact  of  the  Races.       [Chap.  XVL 

past  color  prejudice  in  the  city  was  deep  and  passionate ; 
living  men  can  remember  when  a  Negro  could  not  sit  in  a 
street  car  or  walk  many  streets  in  peace.  These  times 
have  passed,  however,  and  many  imagine  that  active 
discrimination  against  the  Negro  has  passed  with  them. 
Careful  inquiry  will  convince  any  such  one  of  his  error. 
To  be  sure  a  colored  man  to-day  can  walk  the  streets  of 
Philadelphia  without  personal  insult ;  he  can  go  to 
theatres,  parks  and  some  places  of  amusement  without 
meeting  more  than  stares  and  discourtesy  ;  he  can  be 
accommodated  at  most  hotels  and  restaurants,  although  his 
treatment  in  some  would  not  be  pleasant.  All  this  is  a 
vast  advance  and  augurs  much  for  the  future.  And  yet  all 
that  has  been  said  of  the  remaining  discrimination  is  but 
too  true. 

During  the  investigation  of  1896  there  was  collected  a 
number  of  actual  cases,  which  may  illustrate  the  discrimi 
nations  spoken  of.  So  far  as  possible  these  have  been 
sifted  and  only  those  which  seem  undoubtedly  true  have 
been  selected.2 

i.  As  to  getting  work. 

It  is  hardly  necessary  to  dwell  upon  the  situation  of  the 
Negro  in  regard  to  work  in  the  higher  walks  of  life  :  the 
white  boy  may  start  in  the  lawyer's  office  and  work 
himself  into  a  lucrative  practice ;  he  may  serve  a 
physician  as  office  boy  or  enter  a  hospital  in  a  minor 
position,  and  have  his  talent  alone  between  him  and 


3  One  of  the  questions  on  the  schedule  was:  "Have  you  had  any 
difficulty  in  getting  work?  "  another:  "  Have  you  had  any  difficulty  in 
renting  houses?"  Most  of  the  answers  were  vague  or  general.  Those 
that  were  definite  and  apparently  reliable  were,  so  far  as  possible, 
inquired  into  farther,  compared  with  other  testimony  and  then  used  as 
material  for  working  out  a  list  of  discriminations;  single  and  isolated 
cases  without  corroboration  were  never  taken.  I  believe  those  here 
presented  are  reliable,  although  naturally  I  may  have  been  deceived  in 
some  stories.  Of  the  general  truth  of  the  statement  I  am  thoroughly 
convinced. 


Sect  47.]  Color  Prejudice.  327 

affluence  and  fame  ;  if  he  is  bright  in  school,  he  may 
make  his  mark  in  a  university,  become  a  tutor  with  some 
time  and  much  inspiration  for  study,  and  eventually  fill 
a  professor's  chair.  All  these  careers  are  at  the  very 
outset  closed  to  the  Negro  on  account  of  his  color ;  what 
lawyer  would  give  even  a  minor  case  to  a  Negro  assistant? 
or  what  university  would  appoint  a  promising  young 
Negro  as  tutor  ?  Thus  the  young  white  man  starts  in  life 
knowing  that  within  some  limits  and  barring  accidents, 
talent  and  application  will  tell.  The  young  Negro  starts 
knowing  that  on  all  sides  his  advance  is  made  doubly 
difficult  if  not  wholly  shut  off  by  his  color.  Let  us  come, 
however,  to  ordinary  occupations  which  concern  more 
nearly  the  mass  of  Negroes.  Philadelphia  is  a  great  indus 
trial  and  business  centre,  with  thousands  of  foremen, 
managers  and  clerks — the  lieutenants  of  industry  who 
direct  its  progress.  They  are  paid  for  thinking  and  for 
skill  to  direct,  and  naturally  such  positions  are  coveted 
because  they  are  well  paid,  well  thought-of  and  carry  some 
authority.  To  such  positions  Negro  boys  and  girls  may 
not  aspire  no  matter  what  their  qualifications.  Even  as 
teachers  and  ordinary  clerks  and  stenographers  they  find 
almost  no  openings.  l>t  us  note  some  actual  instances : 

A  young  woman  who  graduated  with  credit  from  the 
Girls'  Normal  School  in  1892,  has  taught  in  the  kinder 
garten,  acted  as  substitute,  and  waited  in  vain  for  a  per 
manent  position.  Once  she  was  allowed  to  substitute  in  a 
school  with  white  teachers  ;  the  principal  commended  her 
work,  but  when  the  permanent  appointment  was  made  a 
white  woman  got  it 

A  girl  who  graduated  from  a  Pennsylvania  high  school 
and  from  a  business  college  sought  work  in  the  city  as  a 
stenographer  and  typewriter.  A  prominent  lawyer  under 
took  to  find  her  a  position ;  he  went  to  friends  and  said, 
"  Here  is  a  girl  that  does  excellent  work  and  is  of  good 
character ;  can  you  not  give  her  work  ?  "  Several  imme- 


328  The  Contact  of  the  Races.        [Chap.  XVI. 

diately  answered  yes.  "But,"  said  the  lawyer,  u  I  will  be 
perfectly  frank  with  you  and  tell  you  she  is  colored ;"  and 
not  In  the  whole  city  could  he  find  a  man  willing  to 
employ  her.  It  happened,  however,  that  the  girl  was  so 
light  in  complexion  that  few  not  knowing  would  have 
suspected  her  descent.  The  lawyer  therefore  gave  her 
temporary  work  in  his  own  office  until  she  found  a  position 
outside  the  city.  "  But,"  said  he,  "  to  this  day  I  have  not 
dared  to  tell  my  clerks  that  they  worked  beside  a  Negress." 
Another  woman  graduated  from  the  high  school  and  the 
Palmer  College  of  Shorthand,  but  all  over  the  city  has  met 
with  nothing  but  refusal  of  work. 

Several  graduates  in  pharmacy  have  sought  to  get  their 
three  years  required  apprenticeship  in  the  city  and  in  only 
one  case  did  one  succeed,  although  they  offered  to  work  for 
nothing.  One  young  pharmacist  came  from  Massachusetts 
and  for  weeks  sought  in  vain  for  work  here  at  any  price; 
tc  I  wouldn't  have  a  darky  to  clean  out  my  store,  much 
less  to  stand  behind  the  counter,"  answered  one  druggist. 
A  colored  man  answered  an  advertisement  for  a  clerk  in 
the  suburbs.  "What  do  you  suppose  we'd  want  of  a 
nigger  ?n  was  the  plain  answer.  A  graduate  of  the 
University  of  Pennsylvania  in  mechanical  engineering, 
well  recommended,  obtained  work  in  the  city,  through  an 
advertisement,  on  account  of  his  excellent  record.  He 
worked  a  few  hours  and  then  was  discharged  because  he 
was  found  to  be  colored.  He  is  now  a  waiter  at  the 
University  Club,  where  his  white  fellow  graduates  dine.3 
Another  young  man  attended  Spring  Garden  Institute  and 
studied  drawing  for  lithography.  He  had  good  references 
from  the  institute  and  elsewhere,  but  application  at  the 
five  largest  establishments  in  the  city  could  secure  him  no 
work.  A  telegraph  operator  has  hunted  in  vain  for  an 
opening,  and  two  graduates  of  the  Central  High  School 

3  And  is,  of  course,  pointed  out    by  some  as  typifying  the   educated 
Negro's  success  in  life. 


Sect.  47.]  Color  Prejudice.  329 

have  sunk  to  menial  labor.  "  What's  the  use  of  an  educa 
tion  ?  "  asked  one.  Mr,  A has  elsewhere  been  employed 

as  a  traveling  salesman.  He  applied  for  a  position  here  by 
letter  and  was  told  he  could  have  one.  When  they  saw 
him  they  had  no  work  for  him. 

Such  cases  could  be  multiplied  indefinitely.  But  that  is 
not  necessary ;  one  has  but  to  note  that,  notwithstanding 
the  acknowledged  ability  of  many  colored  men,  the  Negro 
is  conspicuously  absent  from  all  places  of  honor,  trust  or 
emolument,  -as  well  as  from  those  of  respectable  grade  in 
commerce  and  industry. 

Even  in  the  world  of  skilled  labor  the  Negro  is  largely 
excluded.  Many  would  explain  the  absence  of  Negroes 
from  higher  vocations  by  saying  that  while  a  few  may  now 
and  then  be  found  competent,  the  great  mass  are  not  fitted 
for  that  sort  of  work  and  are  destined  for  some  time  to 
form  a  laboring  class.  In  the  matter  of  the  trades,  how 
ever,  there  can  be  raised  no  serious  question  of  ability ; 
for  years  the  Negroes  filled  satisfactorily  the  trades  of  the 
city,  and  to-day  in  many  parts  of  the  South  they  are  still 
prominent.  And  yet  in  Philadelphia  a  determined  preju 
dice,  aided  by  public  opinion,  has  succeeded  nearly  in 
driving  them  from  the  field: 

A ,  who  works  at  a  bookbinding  establishment  on 

Front  street,  has  learned  to  bind  books  and  often  does  so 
for  his  friends.  He  is  not  allowed  to  work  at  the  trade  in 
the  shop,  however,  but  must  remain  a  porter  at  a  porter's 
wages. 

B is  a  brushmaker  ;  he  has  applied  at  several  estab 
lishments,  but  they  would  not  even  examine  his  testi 
monials.  They  simply  said  :  "  We  do  not  employ  colored 
people." 

C is  a  shoemaker  \  he  tried  to  get  work  in  some  of 

the  large  department  stores.  They  u  had  no  place"  for  him. 

D was  a  bricklayer,  but  experienced  so  much  trouble 

in  getting  work  that  he  is  now  a  messenger. 


330  The  Contact  of  the  Races.       [Chap.  XVL 

E is  a  painter,  but  has  found  it  impossible  to  get 

work  because  he  is  colored. 

F is  a  telegraph  line  man,  who  formerly  worked  in 

Richmond,  Va.     When  he  applied  here  he  was  told  that 
Negroes  were  not  employed. 

G is  an  iron  puddler,  who  belonged  to  a  Pittsburg 

union.  Here  he  was  not  recognized  as  a  union  man  and 
could  not  get  work  except  as  a  stevedore. 

H was  a  cooper,  but  could  get  no  work  after  repeated 

trials,  and  is  now  a  common  laborer. 

I is  a  candy-maker,  but  has  never  been  able  to  find 

employment  in  the  city ;  he  is  always  told  that  the  white 
help  will  not  work  with  him. 

J is  a  carpenter ;  he  can  only  secure  odd  jobs  or 

work  where  only  Negroes  are  employed. 

K was  an  upholsterer,  but  could  get  no  work  save  in 

the  few  colored  shops,  which  had  workmen ;  he  is  now  a 
waiter  on  a  dining  car. 

L was  a  first-class  baker ;  he  applied  for  work  some 

time  ago  near  Green  street  and  was  told  shortly,  "We 
don't  work  no  niggers  here." 

M is  a  good  typesetter ;  he  has  not  been  allowed  to 

join  the  union  and  has  been  refused  work  at  eight  different 
places  in  the  city. 

N is  a  printer  by  trade,  but  can  only  find  work  as  a 

porter. 

O is  a  sign-painter,  but  can  get  but  little  work. 

P is  a  painter  and  gets  considerable  work,  but  never 

with  white  workmen. 

Q is  a  good  stationary  engineer,  but  can  find  no 

employment ;  is  at  present  a  waiter  in  a  private  family. 

R was  born  in  Jamaica  ;  he  went  to  England  and 

worked  fifteen  years  in  the  Sir  Edward  Green  Economizing 
Works  in  Wakefield,  Yorkshire.  During  dull  times  he 
emigrated  to  America,  bringing  excellent  references.  He 
applied  for  a  place  as  mechanic  in  nearly  all  the  large  iron 


Sect.  47.]  Color  Prejudice.  331 

working  establishments  in  the  city.  A  locomotive  works 
assured  him  that  his  letters  were  all  right,  but  that  their 
men  would  not  work  with  Negroes.  At  a  manufactory  of 
railway  switches  they  told  him  they  had  no  vacancy  and 
he  could  call  again  ;  he  called  and  finally  was  frankly  told 
that  they  could  not  employ  Negroes.  He  applied  twice  to 
a  foundry  company:  they  told  him:  "We  have  use  for 
only  one  Negro — a  porter,"  and  refusing  either  further  con 
versation  or  even  to  look  at  his  letters  showed  him  out. 
He  then  applied  for  work  on  a  new  building ;  the  man 
told  him  he  could  leave  an  application,  then  added :  uTo 
tell  the  truth,  itis  no  use,  for  we  don't  employ  Negroes." 
Thus  the  man  has  searched  for  work  two  years  and  has  not 
yet  found  a  permanent  position.  He  can  only  support  his 
family  by  odd  jobs  as  a  common  laborer. 

S is  a  stone-cutter  ;  he  was  refused  work  repeatedly 

on  account  of  color.  At  last  he  got  a  job  during  a  strike 
and  was  found  to  be  so  good  a  workman  that  his  employer 
refused  to  dismiss  him. 

T was  a  boy,  who,  together  with  a  white  boy  came 

to  the  city  to  hunt  work.  The  colored  boy  was  very  light 
in  complexion,  and  consequently  both  were  taken  in  as 
apprentices  at  a  large  locomotive  works;  they  worked 
there  some  months,  but  it  was  finally  disclosed  that  the 
boy  was  colored;  he  was  dismissed  and  the  white  boy 
retained. 

These  all  seem  typical  and  reliable  cases.  There  are,  of 
course,  some  exceptions  to  the  general  rule,  but  even  these 
seem  to  confirm  the  fact  that  exclusion  is  a  matter  of  preju 
dice  and  thoughtlessness  which  sometimes  yields  to  determi 
nation  and  good  sense.  The  most  notable  case  in  point  is  that 
of  the  Midvale  Steel  Works,  where  a  large  number  of  Negro- 
workmen  are  regularly  employed  as  mechanics  and  work 
alongside  whites/  If  another  foreman  should  take  charge 
there,  or  if  friction  should  arise,  it  would  be  easy  for  all 

*  Cf.  Section  23. 


332  The  Contact  of  the  Races.       [Chap.  XVI. 

this  to  receive  a  serious  set-back,  for  ultimate  success  in 
such  matters  demands  many  experiments  and  a  widespread 
public  sympathy. 

There  are  several  cases  where  strong  personal  influence 
has  secured  colored  boys  positions  ;  in  one  cabinet-making 
factory,  a  porter  who  had  served  the  firm  thirty  years, 
asked  to  have  his  son  learn  the  trade  and  work  in  the 
shop.  The  workmen  objected  strenuously  at  first,  but  the 
employer  was  firm  and  the  young  man  has  been  at  work 
there  now  seven  years.  The  S.  S.  White  Dental  Company 
has  a  colored  chemist  who  has  worked  up  to  his  place  and 
gives  satisfaction.  A  jeweler  allowed  his  colored  fellow- 
soldier  in  the  late  war  to  learn  the  gold  beaters'  trade  and 
work  in  his  shop.  A  few  other  cases  follow : 

A was    intimately   acquainted    with   a   merchant 

and  secured  his  son  a  position  as  a  typewriter  in  the 
merchants  office. 

B ,  a  stationary7  engineer,  came  with  his  employer 

from  Washington  and  still  works  with  him. 

C ,  a  plasterer,    learned  his    trade  with  a  firm   in 

Virginia  who  especially  recommended  him  to  the  firm 
where  he  now  works. 

D is  a  boy  whose  mother's  friend  got  him  work 

as  cutter  in  a  bag  and  rope  factory ;  the  hands  objected 
but  the  friend's  influence  was  strong  enough  to  keep  him 
there. 

All  these  exceptions  prove  the  rule,  viz.,  that  without 
strong  effort  and  special  influence  it  is  next  to  impossible 
for  a  Negro  in  Philadelphia  to  get  regular  employment  in 
most  of  the  trades,  except  he  work  as  an  independent 
workman  and  take  small  transient  jobs. 

The  chief  agency  that  brings  about  this  state  of  affairs 
is  public  opinion ;  if  they  were  not  intrenched,  and  strongly 
intrenched,  back  of  an  active  prejudice  or  at  least  passive 
acquiescence  in  this  effort  to  deprive  Negroes  of  a  decent 
livelihood,  both  trades  unions  and  arbitrary  bosses  would  be 


Sect  47.]  Color  Prejitdice.  333 

powerless  to  do  the  liarm  they  now  do  ;  where,  however,  a 
large  section  of  the  public  more  or  less  openly  applaud  the 
stamina  of  a  man  who  refuses  to  work  with  a  "Nigger,"  the 
results  are  inevitable.  The  object  of  the  trades  union  is 
purely  business-like ;  it  aims  to  restrict  the  labor  market,  just 
as  the  manufacturer  aims  to  raise  the  price  of  his  goods. 
Here  is  a  chance  to  keep  out  of  the  market  a  vast  number 
of  workmen,  and  the  unions  seize  the  chance  save  in  cases 
where  they  dare  not  as  in  the  case  of  the  cigar-makers  and 
coal-miners.  If  they  could  keep  out  the  foreign  workmen 
in  the  same  way  they  would ;  but  here  public  opinion 
within  and  without  their  ranks  forbids  hostile  action.  Of 
course,  most  unions  do  not  flatly  declare  their  discrimi 
nations  ;  a  few  plainly  put  the  word  "  white  "  into  their 
constitutions ;  most  of  them  do  not  and  will  say  that  they 
consider  each  case  on  its  merits.  Then  they  quietly  black 
ball  the  Negro  applicant  Others  delay  and  temporize  and 
put  off  action  until  the  Negro  withdraws;  still  others 
discriminate  against  the  Negro  in  initiation  fees  and  dues, 
making  a  Negro  pay  $100,  where  the  whites  pay  $25.  On 
the  other  hand  in  times  of  strikes  or  other  disturbances 
cordial  invitations  to  join  are  often  sent  to  Negro  work 
men.6 

At  a  time  when  women  are  engaged  in  bread^winning  to  a 
larger  degree  than  ever  before,  the  field  open  to  Negro 
women  is  unusually  narrow.  This  is,  of  course,  due  largely 
to  the  more  intense  prejudices  of  females  on  all  subjects, 

*  Two  newspaper  clippings  will  illustrate  the  attitude  of  the  workmen ; 
the  first  relates  to  the  Chinese  apprentices  taken  into  the  Baldwin  Loco 
motive  Works: 

The  announcement  that  the  Baldwins  had  taken  five  Chinese  appren 
tices  made  quite  a  stir  among  labor  leaders.  Some  of  them  worked 
themselves  into  quite  a  fever  of  indignation.  Charles  P.  Patrick,  grand 
organizer  of  the  Boilermakers*  Union,  was  quite  outspoken  on  the 
subject. 

He  said:  "All  this  plan  of  patting  Chinamen  in  to  learn  trades  sounds 
nice  and  charitable  to  the  Christian  League,  bat  how  does  it  sound  to  the 
ears  of  American  mechanics  who  are  walking  the  streets  in  search  of 


334  The  Contact  of  the  Races.         [Chap.  XVI. 

and  especially  to  the  fact  that  women  who  work  dislike  to 
be  in  any  way  mistaken  for  menials,  and  they  regard  Negro 
women  as  menials  par  excellence. 

A ,  a  dressmaker  and  seamstress  of  proven   ability, 

-employment  ?  I  have  traveled  all  over  this  country  and  Mexico,  and  I 
have  never  before  seen  Chinamen  given  places  over  the  heads  of  Ameri 
cans.  In  the  West  and  in  Mexico,  Chinese  labor  is  plentiful,  but  the 
Chinamen  are  given  only  menial  positions.  They  are  servants,  helpers 
in  the  mines  and  laborers.  I  never  before  heard  of  a  Chinaman  being 
given  a  place  as  an  apprentice  in  a  shop. 

"  Our  government  excludes  Chinese  labor  from  this  country,  yet  here 
is  the  Christian  League  seeking  to  put  forbidden  immigrants  in  a  position 
where  they,  with  their  peculiarly  cheap,  even  beggarly  style  of  living, 
can  compete  with  American  labor.  I  have  only  been  in  this  city  for  a 
few  days,  but  I  venture  to  say  I  have  seen  more  beggars  and  men  out  of 
work  around  Eighth  and  Market  streets  than  I  have  seen  in  the  whole 
City  of  Mexico." 

Missionary  Frederic  Poole  disposed  of  this  argument  in  a  few  words. 
He  said:  "  It  is  not  my  idea,  nor  the  idea  of  Mr.  Converse,  that  these 
men  should  at  any  time  compete  with  American  workingmen.  It  is  not 
the  wish  of  the  men  themselves.  Mr.  Converse  would  not  have  given 
them  employment  had  any  such  thing  been  intended. 

"  To-day  China  is  building  a  vast  railroad  to  Pekin  that  will  open  up 
all  the  wealthy  and  fertile  region  of  Central  China.  The  enterprise  is 
under  the  direction  of  the  government.  It  will  be  in  operation  in  about 
four  years.  Men  of  intelligence  will  be  needed  for  engineers,  and  there 
my  five  protege's  will  find  their  life  work.  It  is  not  unlikely  that  the 
Chinese  Government  will  send  for  them  before  their  apprenticeship  is 
over.*' 

John  H,  Converse  was  rather  interested  when  he  learned  of  objections 
to  his  Chinese  apprentices.  "  We  might  have  expected  such  objections 
from  professional  agitators, "  he  said,  "but  I  do  not  think  you  will  learn 
of  any  among  our  employ es." 

Continuing,  he  said:  "The  Baldwin  Locomotive  Works  is  now  con 
structing  eight  locomotives  for  the  Chinese  Government,  which  will  be 
the  first  to  run  over  the  great  new  railroad  being  built  from  Pekin  to 
Tien-Tsin.  American  workingmen  would  be  very  narrow  indeed  if  they 
cannot  see  that  it  is  to  their  own  immediate  advantage  that  Chinese 
mechanics  fit  to  look  after  American  locomotives  shall  be  trained  at  once, 
for  the  time  is  coming  when  thousands  of  American  workingmen  may  be 
kept  busy  from  the  extension  of  railroad  building  in  China. 

"These  five  boys  are  Philadelphians.  They  were  not  brought  here, 
and  every  broad-minded  mechanic  will  believe  that  their  apprenticeship 
in  our  shops,  should  they,  as  they  probably  will,  return  to  China,  must 
mean  something  for  the  American  locomotive.  They  are  the  first  to  be 


Sect.  47.]  Color  Prejudice.  335 

sought  work  in  the  large  department  stores.  They  all 
commended  her  work,  but  could  not  employ  her  on  account 
of  her  color. 

B is  a  typewriter,   but  has  applied  at  stores  and 

admitted  to  a  locomotive  works  in  this  country,  and  the  news  will  in  all 
likelihood  create  a  more  friendly  feeling  in  the  railroad  department  of 
the  Chinese  Government  for  American  products." 

Mr.  Converse  said  that  his  firm  had  no  thought  of  extending  the  privi 
lege  beyond  the  present  number  of  Chinese  apprentices. — Philadelphia 
Public  Ledger \  January  5,  1897. 

No  Negro  apprentices  have  ever  been  admitted. 

The  other  clipping  is  a  report  of  the  discussion  in  the  annual  meeting 
•of  the  Federation  of  Labor: 

The  Negro  question  occupied  the  major  portion  of  the  session,  and 
a  heated  discussion  was  brought  on  by  a  resolution  by  Henry  Lloyd, 
reaffirming  the  declarations  of  the  Federation  that  all  labor,  without 
regard  to  color,  is  welcome  to  its  ranks — denouncing  as  untrue  in  fact 
the  reported  statements  of  Booker  T.  Washington  that  the  trades  unions 
were  placing  obstacles  in  the  way  of  the  material  advancement  of  the 
Negro,  and  appealing  to  the  records  of  the  Federation  Conventions 
as  complete  answers  to  such  false  assertions. 

This  resolution  caused  much  spirited  discussion.  Delegate  Jones,  of 
Augusta,  Ga.,  spoke,  claiming  that  the  white  laborer  could  not  compete 
with  the  Negro  laborer,  though  organization  would  improve  conditions 
materially.  President  Gompers  took  part  in  the  discussion,  explaining 
that  the  movement  was  not  against  the  Negro  laborer,  but  against  the 
cheap  laborer,  and  that  the  textile  workers  of  the  East  had  been  com 
pelled  to  contribute  most  of  their  means  to  teach  laborers  in  the  South 
the  benefits  of  organization. 

He  also  made  the  point  that  the  capitalist  would  profit  by  the  failure 
of  the  Negro  laborers  to  organize,  thus  making  the  Negro  an  impediment 
to  labor  movements. 

C.  P.  Frahey,  a  Nashville  delegate,  insisted  that  the  Negro  was  not  the 
equal  of  the  white  man  socially  or  industrially.  He  grew  warm  in  speak- 
ing  of  President  Gompers*  remarks  regarding  the  Negro  in  the  labor 
movement,  and  stated  that  the  President  had  not  revoked  the  commission 
of  a  National  Organizer  who  had  patronized  a  non-union  white  barber 
shop  in  preference  to  a  union  Negro  barber  shop. 

The  organizer  had  simply  been  allowed  to  resign  and  no  publicity  had 
been  given  the  matter.  In  answer  to  a  question  desiring  the  name  of  the 
party,  Frahey  stated  it  was  Jesse  Johnson,  president  of  the  pressmen, 

James  O'Connell  and  P.  J.  McGuire  spoke  for  the  resolution.  The 
latter  insisted  that  Booker  T.  Washington  was  attempting  to  put  the 
Negro  before  the  public  as  the  victim  of  gross  injustice,  and  himself  as  the 


336  The  Contact  of  the  Races.        [Chap.  XVI. 

offices  in  vain  for  work  ;  "  very  sorry  "  they  all  say,  but 
they  can  give  her  no  work.  She  has  answered  many 
advertisements  without  result. 

C  -  has  attended  the  Girls7  High  School  for  two 
years,  and  has  been  unable  to  find  any  work  ;  she  is  wash 
ing  and  sewing  for  a  living  now. 

D  -  is  a  dressmaker  and  milliner,  and  does  bead 
work.  "  Your  work  is  very  good,"  they  say  to  her,  "  but 
if  we  hired  you  all  of  our  ladies  would  leave." 

E  -  ,  a  seamstress,  was  given  work  from  a  store 
once,  to  do  at  home.  It  was  commended  as  satisfactory, 
but  they  gave  her  no  more. 

F  -  had  two  daughters  who  tried  to  get  work  as 
stenographers,  but  got  only  one  small  job. 

G  -  is  a  graduate  of  the  Girls,  High  School,  with 
excellent  record  ;  both  teachers  and  influential  friends 
have  been  seeking  work  for  her  but  have  not  been  able  to 
find  any. 

H  -  a  giri3    applied  at   seven  stores  for  some  work 


not  menial  ;  they  had  none. 

I  -  started  at  the  Schuylkill,  on  Market  street,  and 
applied  at  almost  every  store  nearly  to  the  Delaware  for 
work  ;  she  was  only  offered  scrubbing.* 


Moses  of  the  race.  M.  D.  Rathford  insisted  that  drawing  the  color  line 
would  be  a  blow  to  the  miners'  organization. 

W.  D.  Mahon  charged  that  Jones  was  not  a  representative  of  Southern 
trades  unionism,  having  just  joined  the  ranks.  Jones  then,  in  his  own 
defence,  declared  he  did  not  oppose  the  Negro,  but  did  contend  that  the 
Negro  laborer  was  lower  than  the  white,  citing  an  Atlanta  case,  where 
whites  and  blacks  had  been  jointly  employed  and  the  whites  struck. 

He  wanted  to  know  if  there  had  been  any  efforts  made  in  the  Bast  to 
organize  Chinese  who  came  in  conflict  with  the  union  labor.  President 
Gompers  then  ruled  that  the  discussion  must  cease. 

The  resolution  which  had  caused  the  heated  debate  was  adopted,  and 
the  delegates  went  into  executive  session. — Public  Ledger ',  December 
17,  1897. 

6  From  the  facts  tabulated,  it  appears  that  one-twentieth  of  the  colored 
domestic  servants  of  Philadelphia  have  trades,  while  in  addition  to  this 
one-tenth  have  had  some  higher  school  training  and  are  presumably 


Sect.  47.]  Color  Prejudice.  337 

2.  So  much  for  the  difficulty  of  getting  work.  In 
addition  to  this  the  Negro  is  meeting  difficulties  in  keeping 
the  work  he  has,  or  at  least  the  better  part  of  it.  Out 
side  of  all  dissatisfaction  with  Negro  work  there  are  whims 


fitted  to  be  something  more  than  ordinary  domestics.  Why  then  do  they 
not  enter  these  fields  instead  of  drifting  into  or  deliberately  choosing 
domestic  service  as  a  means  of  livelihood?  The  answer  is  simple. 
In  a  majority  of  cases  the  reason  why  they  do  not  enter  other  fields 
is  because  they  are  colored  not  because  they  are  incompetent.  Many 
instances  might  be  cited  in  proof  of  this,  were  proof  needed.  The 
following  cases  are  only  some  of  those  that  were  personally  encountered  by 
the  investigator  in  one  ward  of  one  city. 

One  very  fair  young  girl,  apparently  a  white  girl,  was  employed  as  a 
clerk  in  one  of  the  large  department  stores  for  over  two  years,  so  that 
there  was  no  question  of  her  competency  as  a  clerk.  At  the  end  of  this 
time  it  was  discovered  that  she  had  colored  blood  and  she  was  promptly 
discharged.  One  young  woman  who  had  been  a  teacher  and  is  now  a 
school  janitress,  teaching  occasionally  when  extra  help  is  needed,  states 
that  she  had  received  an  appointment  as  typewriter  in  a  certain  Philadel 
phia  office,  on  the  strength  of  her  letter  of  application  and  when  she 
appeared  and  was  seen  to  be  a  colored  girl,  the  position  was  refused  her. 
She  said  that  her  brother — whom  people  usually  take  to  be  a  white  man 
— after  serving  in  the  barbershop  of  a  certain  hotel  for  more  than  ten 
years,  was  summarily  discharged  when  it  was  learned  that  he  was  of 
Negro  birth.  One  woman,  who  was  a  seamstress  and  dressmaker,  stated 
that  she  had  on  several  occasions  gotten  work  from  a  certain  church 
home  when  she  wore  a  heavy  veil,  on  making  her  application  at  the 
office,  but  that  ou  the  first  occasion  when  she  wore  no  veil  her  applica 
tion  was  refused  and  had  been  every  time  since.  Of  course  many  of  the 
men  in  domestic  service  have  had  similar  experiences.  Ten  men  out 
of  one  hundred  and  fifty-six  had  trades,  but  none  of  them  were  members 
of  the  trades  unions. 

Mr.  McGuire,  vice-president  of  the  Federation  of  Labor,  stated  to  the 
present  investigator  that  the  Federation  claims  that  colored  men  may 
be  members  of  any  trade  union  represented  in  the  Federation.  But  what 
this  profession  amounts  to  may  be  judged  from  Mr.  McGwire's  further 
statement,  quoted  verbatim:  "A  majority  are  willing  to  have  them 
admitted,  but  a  strong  minority  will  oppose  it.  Not  a  word  will  be  said 
against  it  in  discussion,  but  quietly  at  the  ballot  they  will  rule  them  out." 

How  this  profession  of  admission,  which  amounts  to  practical  exclu 
sion,  looks  from  the  workingman's  point  of  view  is  shown  in  the  experi 
ence  of  a  first-rate  colored  carpenter  and  builder  in  the  Seventh  Ward 
who  was  induced  to  apply  ior  admission  to  the  Carpenters*  Union.  He 
asked  an  officer  of  the  Amalgamated  Association  of  Carpenters  and 


338  The  Contact  of  the  Races.       [Chap.  XVI. 

and  fashions  that  affect  his  economic  position ;  to-day 
general  European  travel  has  made  the  trained  English 
servant  popular  and  consequently  well-shaven  white  men- 
servants,  whether  English  or  not,  find  it  easy  to  replace 


Joiners,  one  of  the  allied  societies  of  the  American  Federation  of  I/abor, 
if  it  would  be  of  any  use  for  him  to  apply  to  the  Union  for  membership. 
"If  you  know  your  trade  and  are  a  carpenter  in  good  and  regular 
standing,  I  see  no  reason  why  you  should  not  become  a  member/'  said 
the  officer.  *  *  So  he  sent  me  to  the  present  secretary  of  the  association, 
and  when  I  put  the  question  to  him,  he  said,  'Well,  he  didn't  know 
whether  I  could  join  or  not,  because  they  had  never  had  a  colored  man 
in  the  Union,  but  he  would  report  it  to  the  association  here  [Philadelphia] 
and  would  write  to  headquarters  in  New  York  to  see  if  it  would  be  admis 
sible  to  enter  a  colored  man.'  He  put  it  on  the  ground  of  my  color,  you 
see,"  This  application  was  made  in  December,  1896.  The  applicant  was 
told  that  the  matter  would  be  acted  on  in  the  Union  on  a  certain  night  in 
January,  1897,  and  every  attempt  was  made  to  send  a  man  to  report  that 
particular  meeting,  but  without  success.  What  occurred  is  not  hard  to 
guess,  however,  since  the  colored  carpenter  whose  case  was  then  consid 
ered  has  received  no  word  from  the  Union  from  that  day  to  this.  He  has 
called  at  the  secretary's  office  three  or  four  times  and  left  word  that  he 
would  like  to  hear  what  action  was  taken  regarding  his  application  for 
admission  to  the  Union,  but  December  i,  1897,  he  had  received  no  answer 
to  his  application  made  in  December,  1896. 

The  effect  of  this  is  well  illustrated  by  the  case  of  a  young  colored 
"  waiter  man  "  on  Pine  street,  whose  case  may  be  taken  as  typical.  He 
had  studied  three  years  at  Hampton,  where  he  had  learned  in  that  time 
the  stone-cutter's  trade.  He  could  practice  this  in  Georgia,  he  said,  but 
in  the  South  stone-cutters  get  only  $2.00  a  day  as  compared  with  $3.50, 
sometimes  $4.00  a  day,  in  the  North.  So  he  came  North  with  the  promise 
of  a  job  of  stone-cutting  for  a  new  block  of  buildings  to  be  erected  by  a 
Philadelphian  he  had  met  in  Georgia.  He  received  $3.50  a  day,  but  when 
the  block  was  done  he  could  get  no  other  job  at  stone-cutting  and  so 
went  into  domestic  service,  where  he  is  receiving  $6.25  a  week  instead  of 
the  $21.00  a  week  he  should  be  receiving  as  a  stone-cutter. 

The  effect  on  domestic  service  is  to  swell  its  already  over-full  ranks  with 
discontented  young  men  and  women  whom  one  would  naturally  expect 
to  find  rendering  half-hearted  service  because  they  consider  their  domestic 
work  only  a  temporary  makeshift  employment.  One  sometimes  hears  it 
said  that  "our  waiter  has  graduated  from  such  and  such  a  school,  but  we 
notice  that  he  is  not  even  a  very  good  waiter."  Such  comments  give  rise 
to  the  speculation  as  to  the  success  in  ditch  digging  which  would  be  likely 
to  attend  upon  the  labors  of  college  professors,  or  indeed,  how  many  of 
the  young  white  men  who  have  graduated  from  college  and  from  law 


Sect.  47.]  Color  Prejudice.  339 

Negro  butlers  and  coachmen  at  higher  wages.  Again, 
though  a  man  ordinarily  does  not  dismiss  all  his  white 
mill-hands  because  some  turn  out  badly,  yet  it  repeatedly 
happens  that  men  dismiss  all  their  colored  servants  and 
condemn  their  race  because  one  or  two  in  their  employ 
have  proven  untrustworthy.  Finally,  the  antipathies  of 
lower  classes  are  so  great  that  it  is  often  impracticable  to 
mix  races  among  the  servants,  A  young  colored  girl 
went  to  work  temporarily  in  Germantown ;  "  I  should  like 
so  much  to  keep  you  permanently,"  said  the  mistress,  "  but 
all  my  other  servants  are  white."  She  was  discharged. 
Usually  now  advertisements  for  help  state  whether  white 
or  Negro  servants  are  wanted,  and  the  Negro  who  applies 
at  the  wrong  place  must  not  be  surprised  to  have  the  door 
slammed  in  his  face. 

The  difficulties  encountered  by  the  Negro  on  account  of 
sweeping  conclusions  made  about  him  are  manifold ;  a 
large  building,  for  instance,  has  several  poorly  paid  Negro 
janitors,  without  facilities  for  their  work  or  guidance  in  its 
prosecution.  Finally  th  e  building  is  thoroughly  overhauled 
or  rebuilt,  elevators  and  electricity  installed  and  a  well  paid 
set  of  white  uniformed  janitors  put  to  work  under  a  re 
sponsible  salaried  chief.  Immediately  the  public  concludes 
that  the  improvement  in  the  service  is  due  to  the  change 
of  color.  In  some  cases,  of  course,  the  change  is  due  to  a 
widening  of  the  field  of  choice  in  selecting  servants ;  for 
assuredly  one  cannot  expect  that  one  twenty-fifth  of  the 
population  can  furnish  as  many  good  workmen  or  as 
uniformly  good  ones  as  the  other  twenty-four  twenty-fifths. 
One  actual  case  illustrates  this  tendency  to  exclude  the 


schools  would  stow  themselves  excellent  waiters,  particularly  if  they 
took  up  the  work  simply  as  a  temporary  expedient.  A  { '  match  *  *  between 
Yale  and  Hampton,  where  mental  activities  must  be  confined  to  the 
walls  of  the  butler's  pantry,  and  where  there  were  to  be  no  **  fumbles  " 
with  soup  plates,  might  bring  out  interesting  and  suggestive  points. 

ISABBI.  BATON. 


340  The  Contact  of  the  Races.       [Chap.  XVI. 

Negro  without  proper  consideration  from  even  menial 
employment : 

A  great  chnrch  which  has  a  number  of  members  among 
the  most  respectable  Negro  families  in  the  city  has  recently 
erected  a  large  new  building  for  its  offices,  etc.,  in  the  city. 
As  the  building  was  nearing  completion  a  colored  clergy 
man  of  that  sect  was  surprised  to  hear  that  no  Negroes 
were  to  be  employed  in  the  building ;  he  thought  that  a 
peculiar  stand  for  a  Christian  church  to  take  and  so  he  went 
to  the  manager  of  the  building;  the  manager  blandly 
assured  him  that  the  rumor  was  true ;  and  that  there  was 
not  the  shadow  of  a  chance  for  a  Negro  to  get  employment 
under  him,  except  one  woman  to  clean  the  water-closet 
The  reason  for  this,  he  said,  was  that  the  janitors  and  help 
were  all  to  be  uniformed  and  the  whites  would  not  wear 
uniforms  with  Negroes.  The  clergyman  thereupon  went 
to  a  prominent  member  of  the  church  who  was  serving  on 
the  building  committee  ;  he  denied  that  the  committee  had 
made  any  such  decision,  but  sent  him  to  another  member 
of  the  committee  ;  this  member  said  the  same  thing  and 
referred  to  the  third,  a  blunt  business  man.  The  business 

man  said  :  "  That  building  is  called  the Church 

House,  but  it  is  more  than  that,  it  is  a  business  enterprise, 
to  be  run  on  business  principles.  We  hired  a  man  to  run 
it  so  as  to  get  the  most  out  of  it  We  found  such  a  man 
in  the  present  manager,  and  put  all  power  in  his  hands." 
He  acknowledged  then,  that  while  the  committee  had 
made  no  decision,  the  question  of  hiring  Negroes  had  come 
up  and  it  was  left  solely  to  the  manager's  decision.  The 
manager  thought  most  Negroes  were  dishonest  and  untrust 
worthy,  etc.  And  thus  the  Christian  church  joins  hands 
with  trades  unions  and  a  large  public  opinion  to  force 
Negroes  into  idleness  and  crime. 

Sometimes  Negroes,  by  special  influence,  as  has  been 
pointed  out  before,  secure  good  positions;  then  there  are 
other  cases  where  colored  men  have  by  sheer  merit  and 


Sect.  47.]  Color  Prejudice.  341 

pluck  secured  positions.  In  all  these  cases,  however,  they 
are  liable  to  lose  their  places  through  no  fault  of  their  own 
and  primarily  on  account  of  their  Negro  blood.  It  may  be 
that  at  first  their  Negro  descent  is  not  known,  or  other 
causes  may  operate ;  in  all  cases  the  Negro's  tenure  of 
office  is  insecure : 

A worked  in  a  large  tailor's  establishment  on 

Third  street  for  three  weeks.  His  work  was  acceptable. 
Then  it  became  known  he  was  colored  and  he  was  dis 
charged  as  the  other  tailors  refused  to  work  with  him. 

B ,  a  pressman,  was  employed  on  Twelfth  street,  but 

a  week  later  was  discharged  when  they  knew  he  was 
colored ;  he  then  worked  as  a  door-boy  for  five  years,  and 
finally  got  another  job  in  a  Jewish  shop  as  pressman. 

C was  nine  years  a  painter  in  Stewart's  Furniture 

Factory,  until  Stewart  failed  four  years  ago.  Has 
applied  repeatedly,  but  could  get  no  work  on  account  of 
•color.  He  now  works  as  a  night  watchman  on  the  streets 
for  the  city. 

D was  a  stationary  engineer;  his  employer  died, 

and  he  has  never  been  able  to  find  another. 

E was  light  in  complexion  and  got  a  job  as  driver ; 

he  "  kept  his  cap  on,"  but  when  they  found  he  was  colored 
they  discharged  him. 

F was  one  of  many  colored  laborers  at  an  ink 

factory.  The  heads  of  the  firm  died,  and  now  whenever  a 
Negro  leaves  a  white  man  is  put  in  his  place. 

G worked  for  a  long  time  as  a  typesetter  on  Tag- 

gart's  Times;  when  the  paper  changed  hands  he  was 
discharged  and  has  never  been  able  to  get  another  job ;  he 
is  now  a  janitor. 

H was  a  brickmason,  but  his  employers  finally 

refused  to  let  him  lay  brick  longer  as  his  fellow  workmen 
were  all  white  ;  he  is  now.  a  waiter. 

Iv learned  the  trade  of  range-setting  from  his 

employer ;  the  employer  then  refused  him  work  and  he 


342  The  Contact  of  the  Races.       [Chap.  XVI. 

went  into  business  for  himself  ;  he  has  taught  four  appren 
tices. 

M is  a  woman  whose  husband  was  janitor  for  a 

firm  twenty  years ;  when  they  moved  to  the  new  Betz 
Building  they  discharged  him  as  all  the  janitors  there  were 
white  ;  after  his  death  they  could  find  no  work  for  his  boy. 

N was  a  porter  in  a  book  store  and  rose  to  be  head 

postmaster  of  a  sub-station  in  Philadelphia  which  handles 
$250,000,  it  is  said,  a  year ;  he  was  also  at  the  head  of  a 
very  efficient  Bureau  of  Information  in  a  large  department 
store.  Recently  attempts  have  been  made  to  displace 
him,  for  no  specified  fault  but  because  u  we  want  his  place 
for  another  [white]  man." 

O is  a  well-known  instance;  an  observer  in  1898 

wrote :  lt  If  any  Philadelphian  who  is  anxious  to  study  the 
matter  with  his  own  eyes,  will  walk  along  South  Eleventh 
street,  from  Chestnut  down,  and  will  note  the  most  tasteful 
and  enterprising  stationery  and  periodical  store  along  the 
way,  it  will  pay  him  to  enter  it.  On  entering  he  will,  accord 
ing  to  his  way  of  thinking,  be  pleased  or  grieved  to  see  that 
it  is  conducted  by  Negroes.  If  the  proprietor  happens  to  be 
in  he  may  know  that  this  keen-looking  pleasant  young 
man  was  once  assistant  business  manager  of  a  large  white 
religious  newspaper  in  the  city.  A  change  of  management 
led  to  his  dismissal.  No  fault  was  found,  his  work  was 
commended,  but  a  white  man  was  put  into  his  place,  and 
profuse  apologies  made. 

"The  clerk  behind  the  counter  is  his  sister;  a  neat  lady 
like  woman,  educated,  and  trained  in  stenography  and 
typewriting.  She  could  not  find  in  the  city  of  Philadel 
phia,  any  one  who  had  the  slightest  use  for  such  a  colored 
woman. 

"  The  result  of  this  situation  is  this  little  store,  which  is 
remarkably  successful.  The  proprietor  owns  the  stock, 
the  store  and  the  building.  This  is  one  tale  of  its  sort  with 
a  pleasant  ending.  Other  tales  are  far  less  pleasing." 


Sect.  47.]  Color  Prejudice.  343 

Much  discouragement  results  from  the  persistent  refusal 
to  promote  colored  employes.  The  humblest  white 
employe  knows  that  the  better  he  does  his  work  the  more 
chance  there  is  for  him  to  rise  in  the  business.  The  black 
employe  knows  that  the  better  he  does  his  work  the  longer 
he  may  do  it ;  he  cannot  often  hope  for  promotion.  This 
makes  much  of  the  criticism  aimed  against  Negroes, 
because  some  of  them  want  to  refuse  menial  labor,  lose 
something  of  its  point.  If  the  better  class  of  Negro  boys 
could  look  on  such  labor  as  a  stepping-stone  to  some 
thing  higher  it  would  be  different ;  if  they  must  view  it  as 
a  lifework  we  cannot  wonder  at  their  hesitation : 

A has  been  a  porter  at  a  great  locomotive  works  for 

ten  years.  He  is  a  carpenter  by  trade  and  has  picked  up 
considerable  knowledge  of  machinery ;  he  was  formerly 
allowed  to  work  a  little  as  a  machinist ;  now  that  is  stopped 
and  he  has  never  been  promoted  and  probably  never  will  be. 

B has  worked  in  a  shop  eight  years  and  never  been 

promoted  from  his  porter's  position,  although  he  is  a  capa 
ble  man. 

C is  a  porter ;  he  has  been  in  a  hardware  store  six 

years  ;  he  is  bright  and  has  repeatedly  been  promised 
advancement  but  has  never  got  it 

D was  for  seven  years  in  a  gang  of  porters  in  a 

department  store,  and  part  of  the  time  acted  as  foreman. 
He  had  a  white  boy  under  him  who  disliked  him ; 
eventually  the  boy  was  promoted  but  he  remained  a 
porter.  Finally  the  boy  became  his  boss  and  discharged 
him. 

E ,  a  woman,  worked  long  in  a  family  of  lawyers  ;  a 

white  lad  went  into  their  office  as  office-boy  and  came  to 
be  a  member  of  the  firm  ;  she  had  a  smart,  ambitious  son 
and  asked  for  any  sort  of  office  work  for  him — anything  in 
which  he  could  hope  for  promotion.  "Why  don't  you 
make  him  a  waiter  ?  "  they  asked. 

p lias   for  twenty-one    years  driven  for  a  lumber 


344  The  Contact  of  the  Races.         [Chap.  XVI. 

firm ;  speaks  German  and  is  very  useful  to  them,  but  they 
have  never  promoted  him. 

G was  a  porter  ;  he  begged  for  a  chance  to  work  up  ; 

offering  to  do  clerical  work  for  nothing,  but  was  refused. 
White  companions  were  repeatedly  promoted  over  his  head. 
He  has  been  a  porter  seventeen  years. 

H was  a  servant  in  the  family  of  one  of  the  members 

of  a  large  dry  goods  firm  ;  he  was  so  capable  that  the 
employer  sent  him  down  to  the  store  for  a  place  which 
the  manager  very  reluctantly  gave  him,  He  rose  to  be 
registering  clerk  in  the  delivering  department  where  he 
worked  fourteen  years  and  his  work  was  commended. 
Recently  without  notice  or  complaint  he  was  changed  to 
run  an  elevator  at  the  same  wages.  He  thinks  that  pres 
sure  from  other  members  of  the  firm  made  him  lose  his  work. 

Once  in  a  while  there  are  exceptions  to  this  rule.  The 
Pennsylvania  Railroad  has  promoted  one  bright  and  persis 
tent  porter  to  a  clerkship,  which  he  has  held  for  years. 
He  had,  however,  spent  his  life  hunting  chances  for  promo 
tion  and  had  been  told  "You  have  ability  enough,  George, 
if  you  were  not  colored ." 

There  is  much  discrimination  against  Negroes  in  wages.7 


^n  the  case  of  the  Colored  people,  the  number  of  mother  wage- 
earners  more  than  doubles  the  number  of  widows.  This  is  due  to  the 
small  average  wage  of  the  Colored  husband— the  smallest  among  the 
twenty-seven  nationalities.  The  laundress  is  the  economic  supplement 
of  the  porter.  .  .  .  It  is  not  because  the  Colored  husband  of  this 
district  neglects  his  responsibility  as  a  wage- winner  that  so  many  Colored 
women  are  forced  into  supplemental  toil,  for  98.7  per  cent  of  the  Colored 
husbands  are  wage-earners,  and  only  92.2  per  cent  of  the  American,  90.3 
per  cent  of  the  Irish,  96  per  cent  of  the  German,  93.7  per  cent  of  the 
Italian,  93.1  per  cent  of  the  French.  The  Danes,  80  per  cent;  Cana 
dians,  81.8  per  cent;  Russians,  85.7  per  cent,  and  Hungarians,  88.8  per 
cent,  have  the  smallest  percentages.  Of  the  more  largely  represented 
nationalities,  the  French  most  nearly  approach  the  Colored  people  in  the 
percentage  of  their  wives  who  are  wage-earners;  but  while  the  French 
percentage  is  21.6  per  cent,  the  Colored  people's  percentage  is  53.6  per 
cent."  Dr.  W.  Laidlaw  in  the  "  Report  of  a  Sociological  Canvass  of  the 
Nineteenth  Assembly  District,"  a  slum  section  of  New  York  City,  in 
1897. 


Sect.  47.]  Color  Prejudice.  345 

The  Negroes  have  fewer  chances  for  work,  have  been  used 
to  low  wages,  and  consequently  the  first  thought  that 
occurs  to  the  average  employer  is  to  give  a  Negro  less  than 
he  would  offer  a  white  man  for  the  same  work.  This  Is 
not  universal,  but  it  is  widespread.  In  domestic  service 
of  the  ordinary  sort  there  is  no  difference,  because  the 
wages  are  a  matter  of  custom.  When  it  comes  to  waiters, 
butlers  and  coachmen,  however,  there  is  considerable 
difference  made;  while  white  coachmen  receive  from 
$5°-$75>  tte  Negroes  do  not  get  usually  more  than 
$30-$6o.  Negro  hotel  waiters  get  from  $i8-$2O,  while 
whites  receive  $2O-$3O.  Naturally  when  a  hotel  manager 
replaces  $20  men  with  $30  men  he  may  expect,  outside 
any  question  of  color,  better  service. 

In  ordinary  work  the  competition  forces  down  the  wages 
outside  mere  race  reasons,  though  the  Negro  is  the  greatest 
sufferer;  this  is  especially  the  case  in  laundry  work. 
""  I've  counted  as  high  as  seven  dozen  pieces  in  that  wash 
ing,"  said  a  weary  black  woman,  "  and  she  pays  me  only 
.$1.25  a  week  for  it"  Persons  who  throw  away  $5  a 
week  on  gew-gaws  will  often  haggle  over  twenty-five  cents 
with  a  washerwoman.  There  are,  however,  notable  excep 
tions  to  these  cases,  where  good  wages  are  paid  to  persons 
who  have  long  worked  for  the  same  family. 

Very  often  if  a  Negro  is  given  a  chance  to  work  at  a 
trade  his  wages  are  cut  down  for  the  privilege.  This  gives 
the  workingman's  prejudice  additional  intensity: 

A got  a  job  formerly  held  by  a  white  porter ;  the 

wages  were  reduced  from  $12  to  $8. 

B worked  for  a  firm  as  china  packer,  and  they  said 

he  was  the  best  packer  they  had.  He,  however,  received 
but  $6  a  week  while  the  white  packers  received  $  12. 

C has  been  porter  and  assistant  shipping  clerk  in  an 

Arch  street  store  for  five  years.  He  receives  $6  a  week 
and  whites  get  $8  for  the  same  work. 

D is  a  stationary  engineer ;   he  learned  his  trade 


346  The  Contact  of  the  Races.       [Chap.  XVI, 

with  this  firm  and  has  been  with  them  ten  years.  Formerly 
he  received  $9  a  week,  now  $10.50  ;  whites  get  $13  for  the 
same  work. 

E is  a  stationary  engineer  and  has  been  in  his  place 

three  years.  He  receives  but  $9  a  week. 

F works  with  several  other  Negroes  with  a  firm  of 

electrical  engineers.  The  white  laborers  receive  $2  a 
day  :  "We've  got  to  be  glad  to  get  $1.75." 

G was  a  carpenter,  but  could  get  neither  sufficient 

work  nor  satisfactory  wages.  For  a  job  on  which  he 
received  $15  a  week,  his  white  successor  got  $18. 

H ,  a  cementer,  receives  $1.75  a  day ;  white  work 
men  get  $2-$3-  He  has  been  promised  more  next  fall. 

I ,  a  plasterer,  has  worked  for  one  boss  twenty-seven 

years.  Regular  plasterers  get  $4  or  more  a  day  ;  he  does 
the  same  work,  but  cannot  join  the  union  and  is  paid  as  a 
laborer — $2.50  a  day. 

j works  as  a  porter  in  a  department  store  ;  is  mar 
ried,  and  receives  $8  a  week.  "  They  pay  the  same  to 
white  unmarried  shop  girls,  who  stand  a  chance  to  be 
promoted.'  * 

3.  If  a  Negro  enters  some  line  of  employment  in  which 
people  are  not  used  to  seeing  him,  he  suffers  from  an 
assumption  that  he  is  unfit  for  the  work.  It  is  reported 
that  a  Chestnut  street  firm  once  took  a  Negro  shop  girl, 
but  the  protests  of  their  customers  were  such  that  they  had 
to  dismiss  her.  A  great  many  merchants  hesitate  to 
advance  Negroes  lest  they  should  lose  custom.  Negro 
merchants  who  have  attempted  to  start  business  in  the  city 
at  first  encounter  much  difficulty  from  this  prejudice: 

A has  a  bakery  ;  white  people  sometimes  enter  and 

finding  Negroes  in  charge  abruptly  leave. 

B is  a  baker  and  had  a  shop  some  years  on  Vine 

street,  but  prejudice  against  him  barred  him  from  gaining 
much  custom. 

C is  a  successful  expressman  with  a  large  business  ; 


Sect.  47.]  Color  Prejudice.  347 

he  is  sometimes  told  by  persons  that  they  prefer  to 
patronize  wThite  expressmen. 

-D is  a  woman  and  keeps  a   hair  store  on  South 

street.     Customers  sometimes  enter,  look  at  her,  and  leave. 

E is  a  music  teacher  on  Lombard  street     Several 

white  people  have  entered  and  seeing  him,  said  :  "  Oh  !  I 
thought  you  were  white — excuse  me !  "  or  "  I'll  call  again  ! " 

Even  among  the  colored  people  themselves  some  preju 
dice  of  this  sort  is  met.  Once  a  Negro  physician  could 
not  get  the  patronage  of  Negroes  because  they  were  not 
used  to  the  innovation.  Now  they  have  a  large  part  of  the 
Negro  patronage.  The  Negro  merchant,  however,  still 
lacks  the  full  confidence  of  his  own  people  though  this  is 
slowly  growing.  It  is  one  of  the  paradoxes  of  this  question 
to  see  a  people  so  discriminated  against  sometimes  add  to 
their  misfortunes  by  discriminating  against  themselves. 
They  themselves,  however,  are  beginning  to  recognize  this. 

4.  The  chief  discrimination  against  Negroes  in  expendi 
ture  is  in  the  matter  of  rents.  There  can  be  no  reasonable 
doubt  but  that  Negroes  pay  excessive  rents : 

A paid  $13   a  month   where  the  preceding  white 

family  had  paid  $10. 

paid  $16  ;  "heard  that  former  white  family  paid 

C paid  $25  ;  "  heard  that  former  white  family  paid 

$20." 

D paid  $12  ;  neighbors  say  that  former  white  family 

paid  $9. 

E — - —  paid  $25,  instead  of  $18. 

F paid  $12,  instead  of  $10. 

G >the  Negro  inhabitants  of  the  whole  street  pay  $iz 

to  $14  and  the  whites  $9  and  $10.  The  houses  are  all 
alike. 

H ,  whites  on  this  street  pay  $i5~$i8 ;  Negroes  pay 

$l8-$2I. 

Not  only  is  there  this  pretty  general  discrimination  irt 


348  The  Contact  of  the  Races.        [Chap.  XVI. 

rent,  but  agents  and  owners  will  not  usually  repair  the 
houses  of  the  blacks  willingly  or  improve  them.  In 
addition  to  this  agents  and  owners  in  many  sections  utterly 
refuse  to  rent  to  Negroes  on  any  terms.  Both  these  sorts 
of  discrimination  are  easily  defended  from  a  merely  business 
point  of  view ;  public  opinion  in  the  city  is  such  that  the 
presence  of  even  a  respectable  colored  family  in  a  block 
will  affect  its  value  for  renting  or  sale  ;  increased  rent  to 
Negroes  is  therefore  a  sort  of  insurance,  and  refusal  to 
rent  a  device  for  money-getting.  The  indefensible  cruelty 
lies  with  those  classes  who  refuse  to  recognize  the  right  of 
respectable  Negro  citizens  to  respectable  houses.  Real 
-estate  agents  also  increase  prejudice  by  refusing  to  dis 
criminate  between  different  classes  of  Negroes.  A  quiet 
Negro  family  moves  into  a  street.  The  agent  finds  no 
great  objection,  and  allows  the  next  empty  house  to  go  to 
any  Negro  who  applies.  This  family  may  disgrace  and 
scandalize  the  neighborhood  and  make  it  harder  for  decent 
families  to  find  homes.8 

In  the  last  fifteen  years,  however,  public  opinion  has  so 
greatly  changed  in  this  matter  that  we  may  expect  much 
in  the  future.  To-day  the  Negro  population  is  more  widely 
scattered  over  the  city  than  ever  before.  At  the  same  time 
it  remains  true  that  as  a  rule  they  must  occupy  the  worst 
houses  of  the  districts  where  they  live.  The  advance 
made  has  been  a  battle  for  the  better  class  of  Negroes.  An 
ex-Minister  to  Hayti  moved  to  the  northwestern  part  of 
the  city  and  his  white  neighbors  insulted  him,  barricaded 
their  steps  against  him,  and  tried  in  every  way  to  make 
him  move ;  to-day  he  is  honored  and  respected  in  the 
whole  neighborhood.  Many  such  cases  have  occurred  ;  in 


8  Undoubtedly  certain  classes  of  Negroes  bring  much  deserved  criti 
cism  on  themselves  by  irregular  payment  or  default  of  rent,  and  by  the 
poor  care  they  take  of  property.  They  must  not,  however,  be  con 
founded  with  the  better  classes  who  make  good  customers  ;  this  is  again 
a  place  for  careful  discrimination. 


Sect  47.]  Color  Prejudice.  349 

others  the  result  was  different  An  estimable  young  Negro, 
just  married,  moved  with  his  bride  into  a  little  street  The 
neighborhood  rose  in  arms  and  besieged  the  tenant  and  the 
landlord  so  relentlessly  that  the  landlord  leased  the  house 
and  compelled  the  young  couple  to  move  within  a  month. 
One  of  the  bishops  of  the  A.  M.  E.  Church  recently  moved 
into  the  newly  purchased  Episcopal  residence  on  Belmont 
avenue,  and  his  neighbors  have  barricaded  their  porches 
against  his  view. 

5.  The  chief  discrimination  against  Negro  children  is  in 
the  matter  of  educational  facilities.  Prejudice  here  works 
to  compel  colored  children  to  attend  certain  schools  where 
most  Negro  children  go,  or  to  keep  them  out  of  private 
and  higher  schools. 

A tried  to  get  her  little  girl  into  the  kindergarten 

nearest  to  her,  at  Fifteenth  and  Locust  The  teachers 
wanted  her  to  send  it  down  across  Broad  to  the  kinder 
garten  chiefly  attended  by  colored  children  and  much 
further  away  from  its  home.  This  journey  was  dangerous 
for  the  child,  but  the  teachers  refused  to  receive  it  for  six 
months,  until  the  authorities  were  appealed  to. 

In  transfers  from  schools  Negroes  have  difficulty  in 
getting  convenient  accommodations  ;  only  within  compara 
tively  few  years  have  Negroes  been  allowed  to  complete 
the  course  at  the  High  and  Normal  Schools  without  diffi 
culty.  Earlier  than  that  the  University  of  Pennsylvania 
refused  to  let  Negroes  sit  in  the  Auditorium  and  listen  to  lec 
tures,  much  less  to  be  students.  Within  two  or  three  years 
a  Negro  student  had  to  fight  his  way  through  a  city  dental 
school  with  his  fists,  and  was  treated  with  every  indignity. 
Several  times  Negroes  have  been  asked  to  leave  schools  of 
stenography,  etc.,  on  account  of  their  fellow  students.  In 
1893  a  colored  woman  applied  at  Temple  College,  a  church 
institution,  for  admission  and  was  refused  and  advised  to 
go  elsewhere.  The  college*  then  offered  scholarships  to 
churches,  but  would  not  admit  applicants  from  colored 


350  The  Contact  of  the  Races.        [Chap.  XVI. 

churches.  Two  years  later  the  same  woman  applied  again. 
The  faculty  declared  that  they  did  not  object,  but  that  the 
students  would  ;  she  persisted  and  was  finally  admitted 
with  evident  reluctance. 

It  goes  without  saying  that  most  private  schools,  music 
schools,  etc.,  will  not  admit  Negroes  and  in  some  cases 
have  insulted  applicants. 

Such  is  the  tangible  form  of  Negro  prejudice  in  Phila 
delphia.  Possibly  some  of  the  particulur  cases  cited  can 
be  proven  to  have  had  extenuating  circumstances  unknown 
to  the  investigator ;  at  the  same  time  many  not  cited  would 
be  just  as  much  in  point.  At  any  rate  no  one  who  has  with 
any  diligence  studied  the  situation  of  the  Negro  in  the  city 
can  long  doubt  but  that  his  opportunities  are  limited  and 
his  ambition  circumscribed  about  as  has  been  shown.  There 
are  of  course  numerous  exceptions,  but  the  mass  of  the 
Negroes  have  been  so  often  refused  openings  and  discour 
aged  in  efforts  to  better  their  condition  that  many  of  them 
say?  as  one  said,  "  I  never  apply — I  know  it  is  useless.n 
Beside  these  tangible  and  measurable  forms  there  are 
deeper  and  less  easily  described  results  of  the  attitude  of 
the  white  population  toward  the  Negroes :  a  certain 
manifestation  of  a  real  or  assumed  aversion,  a  spirit  of 
ridicule  or  patronage,  a  vindictive  hatred  in  some,  absolute 
indifference  in  others  ;  all  this  of  course  does  not  make 
much  difference  to  the  mass  of  the  race,  but  it  deeply 
wounds  the  better  classes,  the  very  classes  who  are  attain 
ing  to  that  to  which  we  wish  the  mass  to  attain.  Notwith 
standing  all  this,  most  Negroes  would  patiently  await  the 
effect  of  time  and  commonsense  on  such  prejudice  did  it 
not  to-day  touch  them  in  matters  of  life  and  death  ; 
threaten  their  homes,  their  food,  their  children,  their  hopes. 
And  the  result  of  this  is  bound  to  be  increased  crime, 
inefficiency  and  bitterness. 

It  would,  of  course,  be  idle  to  assert  that  most  of  the 
Negro  crime  was  caused  by  prejudice  ;  the  violent  economic 


Sect.  47.]  Color  Prejudice.  351 

and  social  changes  which  the  last  fifty  years  have  brought 
to  the  American  Negro,  the  sad  social  history  that  preceded 
these  changes,  have  all  contributed  to  unsettle  morals  and 
pervert  talents.  Nevertheless  it  is  certain  that  Negro 
prejudice  in  cities  like  Philadelphia  has  been  a  vast  factor 
in  aiding  and  abetting  all  other  causes  which  impel  a 
half-developed  race  to  recklessness  and  excess.  Certainly 
a  great  amount  of  crime  can  be  without  doubt  traced  to  the 
discrimination  against  Negro  boys  and  girls  in  the  matter 
of  employment.  Or  to  put  it  differently,  Negro  prejudice 
costs  the  city  something. 

The  connection  of  crime  and  prejudice  is,  on  the  other 
hand,  neither  simple  nor  direct.  The  boy  who  is  refused 
promotion  in  his  job  as  porter  does  not  go  out  and  snatch 
somebody's  pocketbook.  Conversely  the  loafers  at  Twelfth 
and  Kater  streets,  and  the  thugs  in  the  county  prison  are 
not  usually  graduates  of  high  schools  who  have  been 
refused  work.  The  connections  are  much  more  subtle  and 
dangerous  ;  it  is  the  atmosphere  of  rebellion  and  discontent 
that  unrewarded  merit  and  reasonable  but  unsatisfied 
ambition  make.  The  social  environment  of  excuse,  listless 
despair,  careless  indulgence  and  lack  of  inspiration  to 
work  is  the  growing  force  that  turns  black  boys  and  girls 
into  gamblers,  prostitutes  and  rascals.  And  this  social 
environment  has  been  built  up  slowly  out  of  the  dis 
appointments  of  deserving  men  and  the  sloth  of  the  un- 
awakened.  How  long  can  a  city  say  to  a  part  of  its  citizens, 
"  It  is  useless  to  work  ;  it  is  fruitless  to  deserve  well  of 
men  ;  education  will  gain  you  nothing  but  disappointment 
and  humiliation  ?  "  How  long  can  a  city  teach  its  black 
children  that  the  road  to  success  is  to  have  a  white  face  ? 
How  long  can  a  city  do  this  and  escape  the  inevitable 
penalty  ? 

For  thirty  years  and  more  Philadelphia  has  said  to  its 
black  children  :  "  Honesty,  efficiency  and  talent  have  little 
to  do  with  your  success ;  if  you  work  hard,  spend  little  and 


352  The  Contact  of  the  Races.        [Chap.  XVI. 

are  good  you  may  earn  your  bread  and  butter  at  those  sorts 
of  work  which  we  frankly  confess  we  despise ;  if  you  are 
dishonest  and  lazy,  the  State  will  furnish  your  bread  free." 
Thus  the  class  of  Negroes  which  the  prejudices  of  the  city 
have  distinctly  encouraged  is  that  of  the  criminal,  the  lazy 
and  the  shiftless  ;  for  them  the  city  teems  with  institutions 
and  charities  ;  for  them  there  is  succor  and  sympathy  ;  for 
them  Philadelphians  are  thinking  and  planning ;  but  for 
the  educated  and  industrious  young  colored  man  who 
wants  work  and  not  platitudes,  wages  and  not  alms,  just 
rewards  and  not  sermons — for  such  colored  men  Philadel 
phia  apparently  has  no  use. 

What  then  do  such  men  do?  What  becomes  of  the 
graduates  of  the  many  schools  of  the  city  ?  The  answer 
is  simple :  most  of  those  who  amount  to  anything  leave 
the  city,  the  others  take  what  they  can  get  for  a  livelihood. 
L,et  us  for  a  moment  glance  at  the  statistics  of  three  colored 
schools : 9 

1.  The  O.  V.  Catto  Primary  School. 

2.  The  Robert  Vaux  Grammar  School. 

3.  The  Institute  for  Colored  Youth. 

There  attended  the  Catto  school,  1867-97,  5915  pupils. 
Of  these  there  were  promoted  from  the  full  course,  653. 
129  of  the  latter  are  known  to  be  in  positions  of  higher 
grade ;  or  taking  out  93  who  are  still  in  school,  there 
remain  36  as  follows:  18  teachers,  10  clerks,  2  physicians, 
2  engravers,  2  printers,  i  lawyer  and  i  mechanic. 

The  other  524  are  for  the  most  part  in  service,  laborers 
and  housewives.  Of  the  36  more  successful  ones  fully  half 
are  at  work  outside  of  the  city. 

Of  the  Vaux  school  there  were,  1877-89,  76  graduates. 
Of  these  there  are  16  unaccounted  for ;  the  rest  are  : 

Teachers 27      Barbers 4 

Musicians 5      Clerks    .........    3 

Merchants 3      Physician i 


9  Kindly  furnished  by  the  principals  of  these  schools. 


Sect.  47.]  Color  Prejudice.  353 

Mechanic I      Deceased  ........    8 

Clergymen 3      Housewives  .......    5 

47 

From  one-half  to  two-thirds  of  these  have  been  compelled 
to  leave  the  city  in  order  to  find  work ;  one,  the  artist, 
Tanner,  whom  France  recently  honored,  could  not  in  his 
native  land  much  less  in  his  native  city  find  room  for  his 
talents.  He  taught  school  in  Georgia  in  order  to  earn 
money  enough  to  go  abroad. 

The  Institute  of  Colored  Youth  has  had  340  graduates, 
1856-97  ;  57  of  these  are  dead.  Of  the  283  remaining  91 
are  unaccounted  for.  The  rest  are  : 

Teachers 117  Electrical  Engineer    .   ,  i 

Lawyers 4  Professor i 

Physicians 4  Government  clerks  ...  5 

Musicians 4  Merchants .  7 

Dentists ,   .  2  Mechanics 5 

Clergymen .......  2  Clerks 23 

Nurses 2  Teacher  of  cooking    .   .  i 

Editor I  Dressmakers 4 

Civil  Engineer i  Students     .......  7 

192 

Here,  again,  nearly  three-fourths  of  the  graduates  who 
have  amounted  to  anything  have  had  to  leave  the  city  for 
work.  The  civil  engineer,  for  instance,  tried  in  vain  to 
get  work  here  and  finally  had  to  go  to  New  Jersey  to  teach. 

There  have  been  9,  possibly  n,  colored  graduates  of  the 
Central  High  School.  These  are  engaged  as  follows : 

Grocer i      Porter i 

Clerks  in  service  of  city  .    2      Butler I 

Caterer i      Unknown 3  or  5 

It  is  high  time  that  the  best  conscience  of  Philadelphia 
awakened  to  her  duty  ;  her  Negro  citizens  are  here  to 
remain  ;  they  can  be  made  good  citizens  or  burdens  to  the 
community  ;  if  we  want  them  to  be  sources  of  wealth  and 
power  and  not  of  poverty  and  weakness  then  they  must  be 


354  The  Contact  of  the  Races.        [Chap.  XVI. 

given  employment  according  to  their  ability  and  encour 
aged  to  train  that  ability  and  increase  their  talents  by  the 
hope  of  reasonable  reward.  To  educate  boys  and  girls  and 
then  refuse  them  work  is  to  train  loafers  and  rogues.10 

From  another  point  of  view  it  could  be  argued  with 
much  cogency  that  the  cause  of  economic  stress,  and  conse 
quently  of  crime,  was  the  recent  inconsiderate  rush  of 
Negroes  into  cities  ;  and  that  the  unpleasant  results  of  this 
migration,  while  deplorable,  will  nevertheless  serve  to 
check  the  movement  of  Negroes  to  cities  and  keep  them  in 
the  country  where  their  chance  for  economic  development  is 
widest.  This  argument  loses  much  of  its  point  from  the 
fact  that  it  is  the  better  class  of  educated  Philadelphia- 
born  Negroes  who  have  the  most  difficulty  in  obtaining 
employment.  The  new  immigrant  fresh  from  the  South  is 
much  more  apt  to  obtain  work  suitable  for  him  than  the 
black  boy  born  here  and  trained  in  efficiency.  Neverthe 
less  it  is  undoubtedly  true  that  the  recent  migration  has 
both  directly  and  indirectly  increased  crime  and  competi 
tion.  How  is  this  movement  to  be  checked  ?  Much  can 
be  done  by  correcting  misrepresentations  as  to  the  oppor 
tunities  of  city  life  made  by  designing  employment 
bureaus  and  thoughtless  persons  ;  a  more  strict  surveillance 
of  criminals  might  prevent  the  influx  of  undesirable 
elements.  Such  efforts,  however,  would  not  touch  the 
main  stream  of  immigration.  Back  of  that  stream  is  the 
world-wide  desire  to  rise  in  the  world,  to  escape  the 
choking  narrowness  of  the  plantation,  and  the  lawless 
repression  of  the  village,  in  the  South.  It  is  a  search  for 
better  opportunities  of  living,  and  as  such  it  must  be  dis 
couraged  and  repressed  with  great  care  and  delicacy,  if  at 
all.  The  real  movement  of  reform  is  the  raising  of 
economic  standards  and  increase  of  economic  opportunity 
in  the  South.  Mere  land  and  climate  without  law  and 


10  Cf.  on  this  point  the  interesting  article  of  John  Stevens  Durham  in 
the  Atlantic  Monthly,  1898. 


Sect.  48.]  Benevolence.  355 

order,  capital  and  skill,  will  not  develop  a  country.  When 
Negroes  in  the  South  have  a  larger  opportunity  to  work, 
accumulate  property,  be  protected  in  life  and  limb,  and 
encourage  pride  and  self-respect  in  their  children,  there 
will  be  a  diminution  in  the  stream  of  immigrants  to 
Northern  cities.  At  the  same  time  if  those  cities  practice 
industrial  exclusion  against  these  immigrants  to  such  an 
extent  that  they  are  forced  to  become  paupers,  loafers  and 
criminals,  they  can  scarcely  complain  of  conditions  in  the 
South.  Northern  cities  should  not,  of  course,  seek  to 
encourage  and  invite  a  poor  quality  of  labor,  with  low 
standards  of  life  and  morals.  The  standards  of  wages  and 
respectability  should  be  kept  up ;  but  when  a  man  reaches 
those  standards  in  skill,  efficiency  and  decency  no  question 
of  color  should,  in  a  civilized  community,  debar  him  from 
an  equal  chance  with  his  peers  in  earning  a  living. 

48.  Benevolence.11 — In  the  attitude  of  Philadelphia 
toward  the  Negro  may  be  traced  the  same  contradictions 
so  often  apparent  in  social  phenomena;  prejudice  and 
apparent  dislike  conjoined  with  widespread  and  deep 
sympathy ;  there  can,  for  instance,  be  no  doubt  of  the 
sincerity  of  the  efforts  put  forth  by  Philadelphians  to  help 
the  Negroes.  Much  of  it  is  unsystematic  and  ill-directed 
and  yet  it  has  behind  it  a  broad  charity  and  a  desire  to 
relieve  suffering  and  distress.  The  same  Philadelphian 
who  would  not  let  a  Negro  work  in  his  store  or  mill  will 
contribute  handsomely  to  relieve  Negroes  in  poverty  and 
distress.  There  are  in  the  city  the  following  charities 
exclusively  designed  for  Negroes  : 

Home  for  Aged  and  Infirm  Colored  Persons,  Belmont 
and  Girard  avenues.12 


11  No  attempt  has  been  made  here  to  make  any  intensive  study  of  the 
efforts  to  help  Negroes,  which  are  widespread  and  commendable;  they 
need,  however,  a  study  which  would  extend  the  scope  of  this  inquiry 
too  far. 

a  Founded,  and  supported  in  part,  by  Negroes.     Cf.  Chap.  XII. 


356  The  Contact  of  the  Races.         [Chap.  XVI. 

Home  for  Destitute  Colored  Children,  Berks  street  and 
Old  Lancaster  road. 

St.  Mary  Day  Nursery,  1627  Lombard  street 

The  Association  for  the  Care  of  Colored  Orphans,  Forty- 
fourth  and  Wallace  streets. 

Frederick  Douglass  Memorial  Hospital  and  Training 
School,  1512  Lombard  street.13 

Magdalen  Convent  House  of  the  Good  Shepherd  (Roman 
Catholic),  Penn  and  Chew  streets,  Germantown. 

St.  Mary's  Mission  for  Colored  People,  1623—29  Lombard 
street. 

Raspberry  Street  School,  229  Raspberry  street. 

The  Star  Kitchen,  and  allied  enterprises,  Seventh  and 
Lombard  streets. 

Colored  Industrial  School,  Twentieth  street,  below 
Walnut. 

Sisters  of  the  Blessed  Sacrament,  for  Indians  and  Colored 
People,  CornwelPs  Station,  Pa. 

Men's  Guild  House,  1628  Lombard  street. 

House  of  St.  Michael  and  All  Angels,  613  North  Forty- 
third  street 

The  Industrial  Exchange  Training  School  and  Dormi 
tory,  756  South  Twelfth  street.13 

Fifty-nine  of  the  charities  mentioned  in  the  Civic  Club 
Digest  discriminate  against  colored  persons.  Fifty-one 
societies  profess  to  make  no  discrimination ;  in  the  case  of 
the  larger  and  better  known  societies  this  is  true,  as,  for 
instance,  the  Home  Missionary  Society,  the  Union  Benevo 
lent  Association,  the  Protestant  Episcopal  City  Mission, 
the  Charity  Organization  Society,  the  Children's  Aid 
Society,  the  Society  to  Prevent  Cruelty  to  Children,  etc. 
Others,  however,  exercise  a  silent  policy  against  Negroes. 
The  Country  Week  Association,  for  instance,  would  rather 
Negroes  should  not  apply,  although  it  sends  a  few  away 


18  Founded,  and  supported  in  part,  by  Negroes.    Cf.  Chap.  XEL 


Sect.  48.]  Benevolence.  357 

each  summer.  Colored  applicants  at  the  building  of  the 
Young  Woman's  Christian  Association  are  not  very 
welcome.  So  with  many  other  societies  and  institutions. 
This  veiled  discrimination  is  very  unjust,  for  it  makes  it 
seem  as  though  the  Negro  had  more  help  than  he  does. 
On  the  other  hand  between  donors,  prejudiced  persons, 
friends  of  the  Negro,  and  the  beneficiaries,  the  managers  of 
many  of  these  enterprises  find  it  by  far  the  easiest  method 
silently  to  draw  the  color  line. 

Fifty-seven  other  charities  make  no  explicit  statement  as 
to  whether  they  discriminate  or  not  To  sum  up  then : 

Charitable  agencies  exclusively  for  Negroes 14 

"                "                "             "  Whites 59 

"  *'         which  profess  not  to  discriminate, 

but  in  some  cases  do 51 

*«                *'         which  make  no  statements,  but  usu 
ally  discriminate 57 

~i8r 

On  the  whole  it  is  fair  to  say  that  about  one  half  of 
the  charities  of  Philadelphia,  so  far  as  mere  numbers 
are  concerned,  are  open  to  Negroes.  In  the  different 
kinds  of  charity,  however,  some  disproportion  is  notice 
able.  Of  direct  almsgiving,  the  most  questionable  and 
least  organized  sort  of  charity,  the  Negroes  receive 
probably  far  more  than  their  just  proportion,  as  a  study 
of  the  work  of  the  great  distributing  societies  clearly 
shows.  On  the  other  hand,  protective,  rescue  and  reforma 
tory  work  is  not  applied  to  any  great  extent  among  them. 
Consequently,  while  actual  poverty  and  distress  among 
Negroes  is  quickly  relieved,  there  are  only  a  few  agencies 
to  prevent  the  better  classes  from  sinking  or  to  reclaim 
the  fallen  or  to  protect  the  helpless  and  the  children. 
Even  the  agencies  of  this  sort  open  to  the  Negroes  are  not 
always  taken  advantage  of,  partly  through  ignorance  and 
carelessness,  partly  because  they  fear  discrimination  or  be 
cause  they  are  apt  to  be  treated  the  same  whether  they  be 
from  Addison  street  or  Middle  alley. 


358  The  Contact  of  the  Races.       [Chap.  XVI. 

Much  of  the  benevolence  of  the  whites  has  been  checked 
because  the  classes  on  whom  it  has  been  showered  have 
not  appreciated  it,  and  because  there  has  been  no  careful 
attempt  to  discriminate  between  different  sorts  of  Negroes. 
After  all,  the  need  of  the  Negro,  as  of  so  many  unfortunate 
classes,  is  "  not  alms  but  a  friend." 

There  are  a  few  homes,  asylums,  nurseries,  hospitals  and 
the  like  for  work  among  Negroes,  which  are  doing  excel 
lent  work  and  deserve  commendation.  It  is  to  be  hoped 
that  this  sort  of  work  will  receive  needed  encouragement 

49.  The  Intermarriage  of  the  Races. — For  years  much 
has  been  said  on  the  destiny  of  the  Negro  with  regard  to 
intermarriage  with  the  whites.  To  many  this  seems  the 
difficulty  that  differentiates  the  Negro  question  from  all 
other  social  questions  which  we  face,  and  makes  it  seem 
ingly  insoluble;  the  questions  of  ignorance,  crime  and 
immorality,  these  argue,  may  safely  be  left  to  the  influence 
of  time  and  education ;  but  will  time  and  training  ever 
change  the  obvious  fact  that  the  white  people  of  the 
country  do  not  wish  to  mingle  socially  with  the  Negroes 
or  to  join  blood  in  legal  wedlock  with  them  ?  This  prob 
lem  is,  it  must  be  acknowledged,  difficult.  Its  difficulty 
arises,  however,  rather  from  an  ignorance  of  surrounding 
facts  than  from  the  theoretic  argument.  Theory  in  such 
case  is  of  little  value ;  the  white  people  as  members  of  the 
races  now  dominant  in  the  world  naturally  boast  of  their 
blood  and  accomplishments,  and  recoil  from  an  alliance 
with  a  people  which  is  to-day  represented  by  a  host  of 
untrained  and  uncouth  ex-slaves.  On  the  other  hand, 
whatever  his  practice  be,  the  Negro  as  a  free  American 
citizen  must  just  as  strenuously  maintain  that  marriage  is 
a  private  contract,  and  that  given  two  persons  of  proper 
age  and  economic  ability  who  agree  to  enter  into  that 
relation,  it  does  not  concern  any  one  but  themselves  as  to 
whether  one  of  them  be  white,  black  or  red.  It  is  thus 
that  theoretical  argument  comes  to  an  unpleasant  stand- 


Sect.  49.]        The  Intermarriage  of  the  Races.  359 

still,  and  its  further  pursuit  really  settles  nothing,  nay, 
rather  unsettles  much,  by  bringing  men's  thoughts  to  a 
question  that  is,  at  present  at  least,  of  little  practical  impor 
tance.  For  in  practice  the  matter  works  itself  out :  the 
average  white  person  does  not  marry  a  Negro;  and  the 
average  Negro,  despite  his  theory,  himself  marries  one  of 
his  race,  and  frowns  darkly  on  his  fellows  unless  they  do 
likewise.  In  those  very  circles  of  Negroes  who  have  a 
large  infusion  of  white  blood,  where  the  freedom  of  mar 
riage  is  most  strenuously  advocated,  white  wives  have 
always  been  treated  with  a  disdain  bordering  on  insult, 
and  white  husbands  never  received  on  any  terms  of  social 
recognition. 

Notwithstanding  theory  and  the  practice  of  whites  and 
Negroes  in  general,  it  is  nevertheless  manifest  that  the 
white  and  black  races  have  mingled  their  blood  in  this 
country  to  a  vast  extent  Such  facts  puzzle  the  foreigner 
and  are  destined  to  puzzle  the  future  historian.  A  serious 
student  of  the  subject  gravely  declares  in  one  chapter  that 
the  races  are  separate  and  distinct  and  becoming  more  so, 
and  in  another  that  by  reason  of  the  intermingling  of 
white  blood  the  "  original  type  of  the  African  has  almost 
completely  disappeared ;  "  "  here  we  have  reflected  the 
prevailing  confusion  in  the  popular  mind.  Race  amalga 
mation  is  a  fact,  not  a  theory ;  it  took  place,  however, 
largely  under  the  institution  of  slavery  and  for  the  most 
part,  though  not  wholly,  outside  the  bonds  of  legal 
marriage.  With  the  abolition  of  slavery  now,  and  the 
establishment  of  a  self-protecting  Negro  home  the  question 
is,  what  have  been  the  tendencies  and  the  actual  facts  with 
regard  to  the  intermarriage  of  races?  This  is  the  only 
question  with  which  students  have  to  do,  and  this  singu 
larly  enough  has  been  the  one  which  they,  with  curious 
unanimity,  have  neglected.  We  do  not  know  the  facts 


"Hoffman's  "Race  Traits  and  Tendencies/*  eta,  pjx  I  and  177. 


360  The  Contact  of  the  Races.       [Chap.  XVI. 

with  regard  to  the  mingling  of  white  and  black  blood  in 
the  past  save  in  a  most  general  and  unsatisfactory  way ; 
we  do  not  know  the  facts  for  to-day  at  all.  And  yet,  of 
course,  without  this  knowledge  all  philosophy  of  the 
situation  is  vain ;  only  long  observation  of  the  course  of 
intermarriage  can  furnish  us  that  broad  knowledge  of  facts 
which  can  serve  as  a  basis  for  race  theories  and  final  con 
clusions.15 

The  first  legal  obstacle  to  the  intermarriage  of  whites 
and  blacks  in  Pennsylvania  was  the  Act  of  1726,  which 
forbade  such  unions  in  terms  that  would  seem  to  indicate 
that  a  few  such  marriages  had  taken  place.  Mulattoes  early 
appeared  in  the  State,  and  especially  in  Philadelphia,  some 
being  from  the  South  and  some  from  up  the  State.  Sailors 
from  this  port  in  some  cases  brought  back  English,  Scotch 
and  Irish  wives,  and  mixed  families  immigrated  here  at  the 
time  of  the  Haytian  revolt.  Between  1820  and  1860  many 
natural  children  were  sent  from  the  South  and  in  a  few 
cases  their  parents  followed  and  were  legally  married  here. 
Descendants  of  such  children  in  many  cases  forsook  the 
mother's  race  ;  one  became  principal  of  a  city  school,  one 
a  prominent  sister  in  a  Catholic  church,  one  a  bishop,  and 
one  or  two  officers  in  the  Confederate  army.16  Some  mar 
riages  with  Quakers  took  place,  one  especially  in  1825, 
when  a  Quakeress  married  a  Negro,  created  much  com 
ment.  Descendants  of  this  couple  still  survive.  Since 
the  War  the  number  of  local  marriages  has  considerably 
increased. 

In  this  work  there  was  originally  no  intention  of  treating 
the  subject  of  intermarriage,  for  it  was  thought  that  the  data 
would  be  too  insignificant  to  be  enlightening.  When, 


ls  Hoffman  has  the  results  of  some  intermarriages  recorded,  but  they 
are  chiefly  reports  of  criminals  in  the  newspapers,  and  thus  manifestly 
unfair  for  generalization. 

16  From  a  personal  letter  of  a  life  long  Philadelphian,  whose  name  I  am 
not  at  liberty  to  quote. 


Sect.  49.]        The  Intermarriage  of  the  Races. 


361 


however,  in  one  ward  of  the  city  thirty-three  cases  of 
mixed  marriages  were  found,  and  it  was  known  that  there 
were  others  in  that  ward,  and  probably  a  similar  proportion 
in  many  other  wards,  it  was  thought  that  a  study  of  these 
thirty-three  families  might  be  of  interest  and  be  a  small 
contribution  of  fact  to  a  subject  where  facts  are  not  easily 
accessible. 

The  size  of  these  families  varies,  of  course,  with  the 
question  as  to  what  one  considers  a  family  ;  if  we  take  the 
"  census  family,"  or  all  those  living  together  under  circum 
stances  of  family  life  in  one  home,  the  average  size  of  the 
thirty-three  families  of  the  Seventh  Ward  in  which  there 
were  intermarried  whites  was  3.5.  If  we  take  simply  the 
father,  mother  and  children,  the  average  size  was  2.9. 
There  were  ninety-seven  parents  and  children  in  these 
families,  and  twenty  other  relatives  living  with  them, 
making  117  individuals  in  the  families.  Tabulated  they 
are  as  follows : 


Number  of 
Persons  in  the 
Real  Family. 

Number  of  Persons  in  the  Census  Family. 

Total 
Real 

Families. 

Total  Indi 
viduals  in 
Real 
Family. 

2 

3 

4 

5 

6 

13 

Two  .... 
Three   .    .    . 
Four 

II 

4 
5 

i 

i 

I 

17 
6 
6 

3 

I 

34 
18 
24 
15 
6 

6 

Five  .... 

2 

i 
i 

,     .     . 

Six    .    - 

Total  Census 
Families. 

II 

9 

7 

3 

2 

I 

33 

97 

Total  Individ 
uals  in  Census 
Family. 

22 

27 

28 

15 

12 

13 

117 
Individuals  in 
Census  Family. 

Of  the  intermarried  whites  there  are  four  husbands  and 
twenty-nine  wives,  Let  us  first  consider  the  families 
having  the  four  white  husbands : 


362 


The  Contact  of  the  Races,       [Chap.  XVI. 
FOUR  WHITE  HUSBANDS. 


No.  i. 

No.  2. 

No.  3. 

No.  4. 

Age    

48 

52 

3i 

32 

Birthplace    .    . 

Philadelphia. 

Georgia. 

Cuba? 

> 

No.  of  years  res 

ident  in  Phil 

adelphia    .   . 

48 

7 

? 

12 

Reads       and 

Writes? 

Reads. 

Yes. 

Yes. 

Yes. 

Occupation  .   . 

Street  car  dri 
ver,  laborer. 

Motorman  on 
electric  cars. 

Tobacconist. 

Painter. 

No.  of  Children 

by  this  Mar 

riage  .... 

4 

o 

o 

o 

Social  grade  .   . 

Third. 

Second. 

Fourth. 

? 

THEIR  FOUR  NEGRO  WIVES. 


No.  i. 

NO.   2. 

No.  3. 

No.  4. 

Age    

3S 

29 

30 

28 

Birthplace    .    . 

Maryland. 

Georgia. 

;> 

Virginia. 

Years   resident 

in    Philadel 

phia    .... 

25 

7 

? 

ii 

Reads     and 

Writes    .   .    .  No. 

Reads. 

Yes. 

Yes. 

Occupation  .   .  Housewife  and 

Housewife. 

Housewife. 

Cook. 

day's  work. 

Children  by  this 

Marriage  .    .  1             4 

o 

o 

o 

Social  grade     . 

Third. 

Second. 

Fourth. 

? 

The  third  family  may  be  simply  a  case  of  cohabitation, 
and  not  enough  is  known  of  the  fourth  to  make  any  judg 
ment.  The  second  family  lives  in  a  comfortable  home  and 
appears  contented.  The  first  family  is  poor  and  the  man 
lazy  and  good-natured. 

The  twenty-nine  white  wives  were  of  the  following  ages : 


15  to  19 i 

20  to  24 7 

25  to  29 8 

30  to  39 .  8 


40  to  49 3 

50  and  over I 

Unknown I 


Total 


29 


Sect  49.]       The  Intermarriage  of  the  Races.  363 

They  were  born  as  follows : 

Philadelphia 6  Hungary I 

Ireland 6  Virginia I 

England 3  Maryland i 

Scotland 2  Delaware I 

New  York 2  Unknown 3 

Germany 2                                                       

Canada    .......  i                   Total 29 

By  rearranging  this  table  we  have  for  the  known  cases  : 

Born  in  Philadelphia £ 

"      "  the  United  States .   .  n 

11       "     "   North 8 

"       "     "  South .  3 

"       "  foreign  lands 15 

Those  not  born  in  Philadelphia  have  resided  there  as 
follows : 

X^ess  than  I  year i 

One  to  three  years i 

Five  to  ten  years 3 

Over  ten  years 8 

Unknown .  10 

*3 
Born  in  Philadelphia 6 

29 

These  wives  are  occupied  as  follows : 

Housewives 18 

"            and  day's  work 3 

Waitresses 2 

No  occupation  or  unknown 3 

Cook i 

Merchant I 

Service , I 

29 

Only  one  of  these  women  was  reported  as  illiterate,  and 
in  the  case  of  three  no  return  was  made  as  to  illiteracy. 

Fourteen  of  these  wives  had  no  children  by  this  mar 
riage  ;  6  had  i  child,  6  had  2  children,  3  had  3  children ; 


364  The  Contact  of  the  Races.       [Chap.  XVI. 

making  27  children  in  all.  Of  the  14  having  no  children 
5  were  women  under  twenty-five  recently  married  ;  2  were 
women  over  forty  and  probably  past  child-bearing.  Several 
of  the  remaining  7  were,  in  all  probability,  lewd. 

Of  the  colored  husbands  of  these  white  wives  we  have 
the  following  statistics  : 

Age—is  to  24 2            50  and  over i 

25  to  29 5            Unknown 2 

30  to  39 12                                                   

40  to  49 7                  Total      29 

Birthplace—  Philadelphia  ...  5  North  Carolina  ....  i 

Maryland     .    ..."  5  Massachusetts     ....  i 

Virginia 5          Alabama    . i 

District  of  Columbia  3          New  York I 

Delaware 2          Unknown 2 

Kentucky    ....  i  

New  Jersey  ....  i                 Total 29 

Texas I 

Born  in  Philadelphia 5 

"     "  North 8 

"     "  South 19 

Illiteracy — Can  read  and  write 23 

Illiterate 4 

Unknown 2 

Total 29 

Occupations —  Baker  and  Merchant  .    .  i 

Waiter 9  Stationary  Engineer  .    .  i 

Porter .  3  Ivaborer I 

Barber 2  Stevedore i 

Steward 2  Caterer i 

Cook 2  Messenger i 

Restaurant  Keeper    .   .  2  Bootblack i 

Helper  and  Engineer    .  i  Unknown i 

Total 29 

The  social  grade  of  thirty-two  of  these  families  is  thought 
to  be  as  follows: 

First  grade,  four  families.     These  all  live  well  and  are 


Sect.  49.  ]       The  Intermarriage  of  the  Races. 


365 


comfortable  ;  the  wife  stays  at  home  and  the  children 
at  school.  Everything  indicates  comfort  and  content 
ment. 

Second  grade,  fifteen  families.    These  are  ordinary  work 
ing-class  families  ;  the  wife  in  some  cases  helps  as  a  bread 
winner  ;  none  of  them  are  in  poverty,  many  are  young 
couples  just  starting  in  married  life.     All  are  decent  and 
respectable. 

Third  grade,  six  families.  These  are  poor  families  of 
low  grade,  but  not  immoral;  some  are  lazy,  some  unfor 
tunate. 

Fourth  grade,  seven  families.  Many  of  these  are  cases 
of  permanent  cohabitation  and  the  women  for  the  most 
part  are  or  were  prostitutes.  They  live  in  the  slums  mostly, 
and  in  some  cases  have  lived  together  many  years.  None 
of  them  have  children,  or  at  least  have  none  living  with 
them  at  present. 

Let  us  now  glance  a  moment  at  the  31  children  of 
these  mixed  marriages:  27  born  of  white  mothers  by 
Negro  husbands,  and  4  of  Negro  mothers  by  white 
husbands: 


Age. 

Male. 

Female. 

Total. 

Uncler  I  year    ......... 

o 

^ 

1—2                                             .          .... 

2 

5' 

7-C     .                  .     .                        

4 

•i 

7 

6-10    .....   

3 

5 

* 

I 

A 

16-10  

2 

2 

20—20                                            .   . 

2 

__ 

2 

Total  

16 

IS 

31 

Of  school  age,  5-20 14 

Number  in  school 12 

Number  over  10  who  are  illiterate    ......       .   .    o 

At  work,  I,  as  porter. 

The  homes  occupied  by  these   families  and  the  rents 
paid  monthly  are  : 


366 


The  Contact  of  the  Races.        [Chap.  XVI. 


Number  of  Rooms. 

$5  and 
under. 

|6-lo. 

$11-15. 

$16-20. 

Over  $20. 

Total 
Families. 

I  (tenant)             .    «    . 

2 

2 

/I 

I  Clodcrinfir)  

•i 

__ 



7 

2  .     .               

_ 

__ 



\  



5 

4 

^^ 



4.   .   - 

4 





4 



2 

_ 



2 

5.   .    .           
6  .......... 



•: 

I 

2 

6 

7                               . 

2 

2 

8  or  more  .... 



^ 

Total  

5 

7 

13 

I 

7 

•77 

One  family  owns  real  estate  (building  lots). 

One  family  belongs  to  a  building"  and  loan  association. 

The  data  here  presented  constitute  too  narrow  a  basis  for 
many  general  conclusions  even  for  a  single  city.  Of  the  2441 
families  in  the  ward  these  families  represent  1.35  per  cent. 
There  are  two  or  more  other  cases  in  the  Seventh  Ward 
not  catalogued.  If  this  percentage  holds  good  in  the 
remaining  parts  of  the  city  there  would  be  about  one 
hundred  and  fifty  such  marriages  in  the  city ;  there  are  no 
data  on  this  point. 

It  is  often  said  that  only  the  worst  Negroes  and  lowest 
whites  intermarry.  This  is  certainly  untrue  in  Philadel 
phia  ;  to  be  sure  among  the  lowest  classes  there  is  a  large 
number  of  temporary  unions  and  much  cohabitation.  In 
the  case  of  the  Seventh  Ward  several  of  such  cases  were 
not  noticed  at  all  in  the  above  record  as  they  savor  more  of 
prostitution  than  of  marriage.  On  the  other  hand  it  is  an 
error  certainly  in  this  ward  to  regard  marriages  of  this  sort 
as  confined  principally  to  the  lower  classes  ;  on  the  con 
trary  they  take  place  most  frequently  in  the  laboring 
classes,  and  especially  among  servants^  where  there  is  the 
most  contact  between  the  races.  Among  the  best  class  of 
Negroes  and  whites  such  marriages  seldom  occur  although 
one  notable  case  occurred  in  1897  ^n  Philadelphia,  where 
there  could  be  no  question  of  the  good  social  standing  of 
the  parties. 


Sect.  49.]        The  Intermarriage  of  the  Races.  367 

As  to  the  tendencies  of  the  present,  and  the  general 
result  of  such  marriages  there  are  no  reliable  data.  That 
more  separations  occur  in  such  marriages  than  in  others  is 
very  probable.  It  is  certainly  a  strain  on  affections  to 
have  to  endure  not  simply  the  social  ostracism  of  the  whites 
but  of  the  blacks  also.  Undoubtedly  this  latter  acts  as  a 
more  practical  deterrent  than  the  first.  For,  while  a 
Negro  expects  to  be  ostracized  by  the  whites,  and  his 
white  wife  agrees  to  it  by  her  marriage  vow,  neither  of 
them  are  quite  prepared  for  the  cold  reception  they  invari 
ably  meet  with  among  the  Negroes.  This  is  the  con 
sideration  that  makes  the  sacrifice  in  such  marriages 
great,  and  makes  it  perfectly  proper  to  give  the  aphoristic 
marriage  advice  of  Punch  to  those  contemplating  such 
alliances.  Nevertheless  one  must  candidly  acknowledge 
that  there  are  respectable  people  who  are  thus  married  and 
are  apparently  contented  and  as  happy  as  the  average  of 
mankind.  It  is  difficult  to  see  whose  concern  their  choice 
is  but  their  own,  or  why  the  world  should  see  fit  to  insult 
or  slander  them. 


CHAPTER  XVII. 

NKGRO   SUFFRAGE. 

50.  The  Significance  of  the  Experiment. — The  indis 
criminate  granting  of  universal  suffrage  to  freedmen  and 
foreigners  was  one  of  the  most  daring  experiments  of  a  too 
venturesome  nation.     In  the  case  of  the  Negro  its  only 
justification  was  that  the  ballot  might  serve  as  a  weapon  of 
defence  for  helpless   ex-slaves,  and    would  at  one  stroke 
enfranchise  those  Negroes  whose  education  and  standing 
entitled  them  to  a  voice  in  the  government.     There  can  be 
no  doubt  but  that  the  wisest  provision  would  have  been  an 
educational  and  property  qualification  impartially  enforced 
against  ex-slaves  and  immigrants.     In  the  absence  of  such 
a    provision   it    was    certainly   more  just   to    admit    the 
untrained  and  ignorant  than  to  bar  out  all  Negroes  in  spite 
of  their  qualifications  ;  more  just,  but  also  more  dangerous. 

Those  who  from  time  to  time  have  discussed  the  results 
of  this  experiment  have  usually  looked  for  their  facts  in 
the  wrong  place,  t.  e.,  in  the  South.  Under  the  peculiar 
conditions  still  prevailing  in  the  South  no  fair  trial  of  the 
Negro  voter  could  have  been  made.  The  "  carpet-bag  " 
governments  of  reconstruction  time  were  in  no  true  sense 
the  creatures  of  Negro  voters,  nor  is  there  to-day  a  Southern 
State  where  free  untrammeled  Negro  suffrage  prevails.  It 
is  then  to  Northern  communities  that  one  must  turn  to 
study  the  Negro  as  a  voter,  and  the  result  of  the  experi 
ment  in  Pennsylvania  while  not  decisive  is  certainly 
instructive. 

51.  The  History  of  Negro  Suffrage  in  Pennsylvania. — 
The  laws  for  Pennsylvania  agreed  upon  in   England  in 
1682  declared  as  qualified  electors  "  every  inhabitant  in  the 
said  province,  that   is    or   shall    be   a   purchaser    of  one 

(368) 


Sect.  51.]       Negro  Suffrage  in  Pennsylvania.  369 

hundred  acres  of  land  or  upwards,  ....  and  every  person 
that  hath  been  a  servant  or  bondsman,  and  is  free  by  his 
service,  that  shall  have  taken  up  his  fifty  acres  of  land, 
and  cultivated  twenty  thereof;"  and  also  some  other 
taxpayers.1 

These  provisions  were  in  keeping  with  the  design  of 
partially  freeing  Negroes  after  fourteen  years  service  and 
contemplated  without  doubt  black  electors,  at  least  in 
theory.  It  is  doubtful  if  many  Negroes  voted  under  this 
provision  although  that  is  possible.  In  the  call  for  the 
Convention  of  1776  no  restriction  as  to  color  was  men 
tioned,2  and  the  constitution  of  that  year  gave  the  right 
of  suffrage  to  u  every  freeman  of  the  full  age  of  twenty-one 
years,  having  resided  in  this  State  for  the  space  of  one 
whole  year."3  Probably  some  Negro  electors  in  Penn 
sylvania  helped  choose  the  framers  of  the  Constitu 
tion. 

In  the  Convention  of  1790  no  restriction  as  to  color  was 
adopted  and  the  suffrage  article  as  finally  decided  upon 
read  as  follows : 

4 '  Article  III,  Section  i.  In  elections  by  the  citizens, 
every  freeman  of  the  age  of  twenty-one  years,  having 
resided  in  the  State  two  years  next  before  the  election,  and 
within  that  time  paid  a  State  or  county  tax,  which  shall 
have  been  assessed  at  least  six  months  before  the  election, 
shall  enjoy  the  rights  of  an  elector. " 4 

Nothing  in  the  printed  minutes  of  the  convention  indi 
cates  any  attempt  in  the  convention  to  prohibit  Negro- 
suffrage,  but  Mr.  Albert  Gallatin  declared  in  1837:  "I 
have  a  lively  recollection  that  in  some  stages  of  the  discus 
sion  the  proposition  pending  before  the  convention  limited 


*  "  Minutes  of  the  Conventions  of  1776  and  J79O»'*  (Ed.  1825)  pp.  3*~3$'> 
Cf.  p.  26. 

2  Ibid.,  pp.  38-39. 
» Ibid .,  p.  57- 

*  Ibid.,  p.  300.    Cf.  "  Pardon's  Digest/'  sixth  edition. 


370  Negro  Suffrage.  [Chap.  XVII. 

the  right  of  suffrage  to  *  free  white  citizens/  etc.,  and  that 
the  word  white  was  struck  out  on  my  motion."  5 

It  was  alleged  afterward  that  in  1795  the  question  came 
before  the  High  Court  of  Errors  and  Appeals  and  that  its 
decision  denied  the  right  to  Negroes.  No  written  decision 
of  this  sort  was  ever  found,  however,  and  it  is  certain  that 
for  nearly  a  half  century  free  Negroes  voted  in  parts  of 
Pennsylvania.6 

As  the  Negro  population  increased,  however,  and  ignor 
ant  and  dangerous  elements  entered,  and  as  the  slavery 
controversy  grew  warmer,  the  feeling  against  Negroes 
increased  and  with  it  opposition  to  their  right  to  vote.  In 
July,  1837,  the  Supreme  Court  sitting  at  Sunbury  took  up 
the  celebrated  case  of  Hobbs  et  aL  against  Fogg.  Fogg 
was  a  free  Negro  and  taxpayer,  and  had  been  denied  the 
right  to  vote  by  Hobbs  and  others,  the  judges  and  inspec 
tors  of  election  in  Luzerne  County.  He  brought  action  and 
was  sustained  in  the  Court  of  Common  Pleas,  but  the 
Supreme  Court  under  Judge  Gibson  reversed  this  judgment. 
The  decision  rendered  was  an  evident  straining  of  law  and 
sense.  The  judge  sought  to  refer  to  the  decision  of  1795, 
but  could  cite  no  written  record  ;  he  explained  the  striking 
out  of  the  word  "  white  "  in  the  constitutional  convention 
as  done  to  prevent  insult  to  "  dark  colored  white  men," 
and  held  that  a  Negro,  though  free,  could  never  be  a 
freeman.7 

All  doubt  was  finally  removed  by  the  reform  constitu 
tional  convention  of  1837-38.  The  article  on  suffrage 
as  reported  to  the  convention  May  17,  1837,  was  practi 
cally  the  same  as  in  the  Constitution  of  1790. 8  This 

5  "  Proceedings  and  Debates  of  the  Convention  of  1837,'*  X,  45.    Cf. 
Purvis  in  * 'Appeal  of  40,000  Citizens."    The  printed  minutes  give  only 
the  main  results  with  few  details. 

6  6  Watts,   553-560,    "Pennsylvania  Reports. "      "Proceedings,   etc., 
Convention  1837-8,  II,  476. 

7  6  Watts,  553-60,  **  Pennsylvania  Reports." 
s  "Proceedings  and  Debates, J>  I,  233. 


Sect  51.]      Negro  Suffrage  in  Pennsylvania.  371 

article  was  taken  up  June  19,  1837.  There  was  an 
attempt  to  amend  the  report  and  to  restrict  the  suffrage 
to  ufree  white  male"  citizens.  The  attempt  was  de 
fended  as  being  in  consonance  with  the  regulations  of 
other  States,  and  with  the  real  facts  in  Pennsylvania, 
since  "  In  the  county  of  Philadelphia  the  colored  man 
could  not  with  safety  appear  at  the  polls,"9  The  amend 
ment,  however,  met  opposition  and  was  withdrawn.  The 
matter  arose  again  a  few  days  later  but  was  voted  down  by 
a  vote  of  6 1  to  49. 10 

The  friends  of  exclusion  now  began  systematic  efforts  to 
stir  up  public  opinion.  No  less  than  forty-five  petitions 
against  Negro  suffrage  were  handed  in,  especially  from 
Bucks  County,  where  a  Negro  had  once  nearly  succeeded 
in  being  elected  to  the  legislature.  Many  petitions  too 
in  favor  of  retaining  the  old  provisions  came  in,  but  it  was 
charged  that  the  convention  would  not  print  petitions  in 
favor  of  Negro  suffrage,  and  some  members  did  not  wish 
even  to  receive  petitions  from  Negroes.11 

The  discussion  of  the  Third  Article  recurred  January  17, 
1838,  and  a  long  argument  ensued.  Finally  the  word 
u white"  was  inserted  in  the  qualifications  of  voters  by  a 
vote  of  77  to  45.  A  protracted  struggle  took  place  to 
soften  this  regulation  in  various  ways,  but  all  efforts  failed 
and  the  final  draft,  which  was  eventually  adopted  by 
popular  vote,  had  the  following  provisions : tt 

"Article  III,  Section  i.  In  elections  by  the  citizens, 
every  white  freeman  of  the  age  of  twenty-one  years,  having 
resided  in  this  State  one  year,  and  in  the  electoral  district 
where  he  offers  to  vote  ten  days  immediately  preceding 
such  election,  and  within  two  years  paid  a  State  or  county 
tax,  which  shall  have  been  assessed  at  least  ten  days 


*  "  Proceedings  and  Debates, "  II,  478. 

™  Ibid.,  Ill,  82-92. 

11  Ibid.,  Volumes  IV-IX. 

» Ibid.,  IX,  320-397,  X,  1-134- 


372  Negro  Suffrage.  [Chap.  XVII. 

before  the  election,  shall  enjoy  the  rights  of  an  elector." ls 
This  disfranchisement  lasted  thirty-two  years,  until  the 
passage  of  the  Fifteenth  Amendment.  The  Constitution 
of  1874  formally  adopted  this  change.1*  Since  1870  the 
experiment  of  untrarnmeled  Negro  suffrage  has  been  made 
throughout  the  State. 

52.  City  Politics. — About  5500  Negroes  were  eligible 
to  vote  in  the  city  of  Philadelphia,  in  1870.  The  question 
first  arises.  Into  what  sort  of  a  political  atmosphere  were 
they  introduced,  and  what  training  did  they  receive  for 
their  new  responsibilities  ? 

Few  large  cities  have  such  a  disreputable  record  for  mis- 
government  as  Philadelphia.  In  the  period  before  the 
war  the  city  was  ruled  by  the  Democratic  party,  which 
retained  its  power  by  the  manipulation  of  a  mass  of 
ignorant  and  turbulent  foreign  voters,  chiefly  Irish.  Riots, 
disorder,  and  crime  were  the  rule  in  the  city  proper  and 
especially  in  the  surrounding  districts.  About  the  time  of 
the  breaking  out  of  the  war,  the  city  was  consolidated  and 
made  coterminous  with  the  county.  The  social  up 
heaval  after  the  Civil  War  gave  tlie  political  power  to  the 
Republicans  and  a  new  era  of  misrule  commenced.  Open 
disorder  and  crime  were  repressed,  but  in  its  place  came 
the  rule  of  the  boss,  with  its  quiet  manipulation  and  cal 
culating  embezzlement  of  public  funds.  To-day  the  gov 
ernment  of  both  city  and  State  is  unparalleled  in  the 
history  of  republican  government  for  brazen  dishonesty 
and  bare-faced  defiance  of  public  opinion.  The  supporters 
of  this  government  have  been,  by  a  vast  majority,  white 
men  and  native  Americans ;  the  Negro  vote  has  never 
exceeded  4  per  cent  of  the  total  registration. 


13  "  Purdon,"  sixth  edition. 

14  The  Constitution  of  1874  gave  the  right  of  suffrage  to  "  Kvery  male 

citizen  of  the  United  States  of  the  age  of  twenty-one  years " 

—'Debates"  etc.,  I,  503,  etc.    See  Index  "  Constitution  of  Pennsylvania, " 
Article  VIII;  and  also  the  Act  of  6  April,  1870, 


Sect.  53.]    Some  Bad  Results  of  Negro  Suffrage.  373 

Manifestly  such  a  political  atmosphere  was  the  worst 
possible  for  the  new  untutored  voter.  Starting  himself 
without  political  ideals,  he  was  put  under  the  tutelage  of 
unscrupulous  and  dishonest  men  whose  ideal  of  government 
was  to  prostitute  it  to  their  own  private  ends.  As  the 
Irishman  had  been  the  tool  of  the  Democrats,  so  the 
Negro  became  the  tool  of  the  Republicans.  It  was  natural 
that  the  freedman  should  vote  for  the  party  that  emanci 
pated  him,  and  perhaps,  too,  it  was  natural  that  a  party 
with  so  sure  a  following,  should  use  it  unscrupulously. 
The  result  to  be  expected  from  such  a  situation  was  that 
the  Negro  should  learn  from  his  surroundings  a  low  ideal 
of  political  morality  and  no  conception  of  the  real  end  of 
party  loyalty.  At  the  same  time  we  ought  to  expect  indi 
vidual  exceptions  to  this  general  level,  and  some  evidences 
of  growth. 

53.  Some  Bad  Results  of  Negro  Suffrage. — The  experi 
ment  of  Negro  suffrage  in  Philadelphia  has  developed 
three  classes  of  Negro  voters :  a  large  majority  of  voters 
who  vote  blindly  at  the  dictates  of  the  party  and,  while 
not  open  to  direct  bribery,  accept  the  indirect  emoluments 
of  office  or  influence  in  return  for  party  loyalty ;  a  consid 
erable  group,  centering  in  the  slum  districts,  which  casts  a 
corrupt  purchasable  vote  for  the  highest  bidder ;  lastly,  a 
very  small  group  of  independent  voters  who  seek  to  use 
their  vote  to  better  present  conditions  of  municipal  life. 

The  political  morality  of  the  first  group  of  voters,  that 
is  to  say,  of  the  great  mass  of  Negro  voters,  corresponds 
roughly  to  that  of  the  mass  of  white  voters,  but  with  this 
difference :  the  ignorance  of  the  Negro  in  matters  of  gov 
ernment  is  greater  and  his  devotion  to  party  blinder  and 
more  unreasoning.  Add  to  this  the  mass  of  recent  immi 
grants  from  the  South,  with  the  political  training  of  re 
construction  and  post-bellum  days,  and  one  can  easily  see 
how  poorly  trained  this  body  of  electors  has  been. 

Under  such  circumstances  it  is  but  natural  that  political 


374  Negro  Suffrage.  [Chap.  XVII. 

morality  and  knowledge  should  be  even  slower  in  spread 
ing  among  Negroes  than  wealth  and  general  intelligence. 
One  consequently  finds  among  those  of  considerable  intelli 
gence  and  of  upright  lives  such  curious  misapprehension 
of  political  duties  as  is  illustrated  by  the  address  of  the 
Afro-American  League  to  the  mayor  of  the  city,  February 
8,  1897: 

"MR.  MAYOR: — We  desire  Erst  and  foremost,  to  tender  you  our  pro 
found  thanks  for  the  honor  of  this  cordial  reception.  We  regard  it,  sir, 
as  proof  of  the  recognition  on  your  part  of  that  just  and  most  admirable 
custom  of  our  country's  government,  which  permits  the  subjects,  however 
humble  may  be  their  condition  in  life,  to  see  their  ruler  as  well  as  feel 
the  workings  of  his  power. 

"  We  are  here  to  state  to  your  excellency  that  the  colored  citizens  of 
Philadelphia  are  penetrated  with  feelings  of  inexpressible  grief  at  the 
manner  in  which  they  have  thus  far  been  overlooked  and  ignored  by  the 
Republican  party  in  this  city,  in  giving  out  work  and  otherwise  distribu 
ting  the  enormous  patronage  in  the  gift  of  the  party.  We  are  therefore 
here,  sir,  to  earnestly  beseech  of  you  as  a  faithful  Republican  and  our 
worthy  chief  executive,  to  use  your  potent  influence  as  well  as  the  good 
offices  of  your  municipal  government,  if  not  inconsistent  with  the  public 
weal,  to  procure  for  the  colored  people  of  this  city  a  share  at  least,  of  the 
public  work  and  the  recognition  which  they  now  ask  for  and  feel  to  be 
justly  due  to  them,  no  less  as  citizens  and  taxpayers,  than  on  a  basis  of 
their  voting  strength  of  something  over  14,000  in  the  Republican  party 
here  in  Philadelphia. 

* '  As  the  chosen  organ  of  this  body  of  men  I  am  actuated  by  a  due  sense 
of  their  earnestness  of  purpose  in  this  matter  and  I  regret  to  be  inade 
quate  to  the  task  of  convincing  you,  Mr.  Mayor,  of  the  deep  interest 
which  is  being  universally  manifested  by  the  colored  element  in  Philadel 
phia  in  this  somewhat  important  question.  The  colored  people  neither 
ask  for  nor  expect  extremes;  we  only  claim  that  our  loyal  fidelity  to  the 
Republican  party  should  count,  at  some  time,  for  some  benefits  to  at  least 
a  reasonable  number  of  the  colored  race  when  our  friends  are  installed 
into  place  and  power;  and,  cherishing  as  we  do,  sir,  the  most  implicit 
confidence  in  your  justice  as  the  chief  executive  of  this  great  city,  we 
firmly  believe  that  this  most  unfair  treatment  of  which  our  people  now 
complain,  would  not  fail,  when  brought  thus  to  your  attention,  in  moving 
you  in  our  humble  behalf.  We,  therefore,  have  here  to  present  for  your 
candid  consideration  a  paper  containing  the  names  of  some  worthy  and 
reliable  men  of  our  race  and  they  are  respectfully  urged  for  appointment 
as  indicated  on  the  face  of  that  paper,  and  out  of  a  desire,  Mr.  Mayor,  to 
facilitate  your  efforts  should  you  take  favorable  action  upon  this  matter, 
these  men,  as  we  will  state,  have  been  selected  as  near  as  possible  from 


Sect.  53.]      Some  Bad  Results  of  Negro  Suffrage.  375 

every  section  of  the  city,  as  well  as  upon  the  proof  of  their  fitness  for  the 
places  named." 

The  organization  which  here  speaks  is  not  large  or 
nearly  as  representative  as  it  claims  to  be ;  it  is  simply  a 
small  faction  of  u  outs  "  who  are  striving  to  get  "  in."  The 
significant  thing  about  the  address  is  the  fact  that  a  con 
siderable  number  of  fairly  respectable  and  ordinarily 
intelligent  citizens  should  think  this  a  perfectly  legitimate 
and  laudable  demand.  This  represents  the  political 
morality  of  the  great  mass  of  ordinary  Negro  voters.  And 
what  more  does  it  argue  than  that  they  have  learned  their 
lesson  well  and  recited  it  bluntly  but  honestly?  What 
more  do  the  majority  of  American  politicians  and  voters 
to-day  say  in  action  if  not  in  word  than :  "  Here  is  my 
vote,  now  where  is  my  pay  in  office  or  favor  or  influence  ?" 
What  thousands  are  acting,  this  delegation  had  the  charm 
ing  simplicity  to  say  plainly  and  then  to  print. 

Moreover  one  circumstance  makes  this  attitude  of  mind 
more  dangerous  among  Negroes  than  among  whites ; 
Negroes  as  a  class  are  poor  and  as  laborers  are  restricted  to 
few  and  unremunerative  occupations ;  consequently  the 
bribe  of  office  is  to  them  a  far  larger  and  alluring  tempta 
tion  than  to  the  mass  of  whites.  In  other  words  here  are 
a  people  more  ignorant  than  their  fellows,  with  stronger 
tendencies  to  dishonesty  and  crime,  who  are  offered  a  far 
larger  bribe  than  ordinary  men  to  enter  politics  for  personal 
gain.  The  result  is  obvious  :  "  Of  course  I'm  in  politics," 
said  a  Negro  city  watchman,  "  it's  the  only  way  a  colored 
man  can  get  a  position  where  he  can  earn  a  decent  living/' 
He  was  a  fireman  by  trade,  but  Philadelphia  engineers 
object  to  working  with  "  Niggers." 

If  this  is  the  result  in  the  case  of  an  honest  man,  how 
great  is  the  temptation  to  the  vicious  and  lazy.  This 
brings  us  to  the  second  class  of  voters — the  corrupt  class, 
which  sells  its  votes  more  or  less  openly. 

The  able-bodied,  well-dressed  loafers  and  criminals  who 


376  Negro  Suffrage.  [Chap.  XVII. 

infest  the  sidewalks  of  parts  of  the  Fifth,  Seventh  and 
other  wards  are  supported  partly  by  crime  and  gambling, 
partly  by  the  prostitution  of  their  female  paramours,  but 
mainly  from  the  vast  corruption  fund  gathered  from  office 
holders  and  others,  and  distributed  according  to  the  will  of 
the  party  Boss.  The  Public  Ledger  said  in  1896  : 

iv  It  is  estimated  that  the  Republican  City  Committee  realized  nearly  if 
not  all  of  $100,000  from  the  i)4  per  cent  assessment  levied  upon  municipal 
officeholders  for  this  campaign.  Of  this  sum  $40,000  has  been  paid  for 
the  eighty  thousand  tax  receipts  to  qualify  Republican  voters.  This  leaves 
$60,000  at  the  disposal  of  David  Martin,  the  Combine  leader. "  * 

How  is  this  corruption  fund  used?  Without  doubt  a 
large  part  of  it  is  spent  in  the  purchase  of  votes.  It  is  of 
course  difficult  to  estimate  the  directly  purchasable  vote 
among  the  whites  or  among  the  Negroes,  Once  in  a  while 
when  "thieves  fall  out"  some  idea  of  the  bribery  may 
be  obtained ;  for  instance  in  a  hearing  relative  to  a  Third 
Ward  election : 

William  Reed,  of  Catharine  street,  below  Thirteenth,  was  first  on  the 
stand.  He  was  watcher  in  the  Fifteenth  Division  on  election  day. 

'*  Did  you  make  up  any  election  papers  for  voters?"  asked  Mr.  Ingham. 

"  I  marked  up  about  seventy  or  eighty  ballots;  I  got  $20  off  of  Roberts* 
brother,  and  used  $100  altogether,  paying  the  rest  out  of  my  own  pocket. '  ' 

"  How  did  you  spend  the  money?" 

"  Oh,  well,  there  were  some  few  objectionable  characters  there  to  make 
trouble.  We'd  give  'em  a  few  dollars  to  go  away  and  attend  to  their 
business."  Then  he  addressed  Mr.  Ingham  directly,  *'  You  know  how  it 
works." 

"  I'd  give  'em  a  dollar  to  buy  a  cigar.  And  if  they  didn't  want  to  pay 
$1  for  a  cigart  "why,  they  could  put  it  in  the  contribution  box  at  church." 

"  Was  this  election  conducted  in  the  usual  way?"  inquired.  Mr.  Sterr. 

**  Oh,  yes,  the  way  they're  conducted  in  the  Third  Ward— with  vote 
buying,  and  all  the  rest  of  it." 

"  Bid  the  other  side  have  any  money  to  spend?" 

"  Saunders  had  $16  to  the  division." 

'*  What  did  your  side  have?" 

"  Oh,  we  had  about  $60 ;  there  was  money  to  burn.     But  our  money 
went  to  three  people.     The  other  fellows  saved  theirs.     I  spent  mir 
like  a  sucker." 


15  October  5,  1896. 


Sect.  53.]    Some  Bad  Results  of  Negro  Sujjrage.  377 

James  Brown,  a  McKinley-Citizen  worker,  began  his  testimony  indig 
nantly. 

"  Election?  Why  Reed  and  Morrow,  the  judges  of  the  election,  run 
the  whole  shootin'  match,"  he  declared,  "  It  jsvas  all  a  farce.  I  brought 
voters  up ;  and  Reed  would  take  'em  away  from  me.  When  we  chal 
lenged  anybody,  Reed  and  the  others  would  have  vouchers  ready." 

"  Did  they  use  money  ?" 

"There  was  a  good  deal  of  money  through  the  division.  We  wasn't 
even  allowed  to  mark  ballots  for  our  own  people  who  asked  for  help. 
The  judge  would  ask  'em  if  they  could  read  and  write.  When  they  said 
f  yes,'  he'd  tell  'em  they  were  able  to  mark  their  own  ballot.  There  were 
even  some  people  who  wanted  to  mark  their  own  ballots.  Reed  would 
simply  grab  'em  and  mark  their  ballots,  whether  they  liked  it  or  not." 

Lavinia  Brown,  colored,  of  the  rear  of  1306  Kater  street,  said  that  Mr. 
Bradford  was  judge  on  election  day,  of  the  Sixteenth  Division,  and  that 
on  the  morning  of  the  election  she  cooked  his  breakfast.  She  said  that 
I.  Newton  Roberts  came  to  the  house,  and  in  her  presence  gave  Bradford 
a  roll  of  notes,  at  the  same  time  throwing  her  $ 2,  but  she  did  not  know 
for  what  purpose  he  gave  it. 

George  W.  Green,  colored,  of  1224  Catharine  street,  said  he  was  a 
watcher  at  the  polls  of  the  Sixteenth  Division.  He  told  of  fraud  and 
how  the  voters  were  treated. 

"  Were  you  offered  any  money  ?" 

**  Yes,  sir.  Lincoln  Roberts  came  over  to  me  and  shoved  $50  at  me, 
but  I  turned  him  down  and  would  not  take  it,  because  I  didn't  belong  to 
that  crowd."  Continuing,  he  said:  "Seven  or  eight  men  were  chal 
lenged,  but  it  did  not  amount  to  anything,  because  Lincoln  Roberts 
would  tell  the  police  to  eject  them.  He  also  vouched  for  men  who  did 
not  live  in  the  ward.  This  condition  of  affairs  continued  all  day." 

Several  other  witnesses  followed,  whose  testimony  was  similar  to 
Green's,  and  who  declared  that  money  was  distributed  freely  by  the 
Roberts  faction  to  buy  over  voters.  They  said  that  challenges  were  dis 
regarded,  and  that  the  election  was  a  farce.  Voters  were  kept  out,  and 
when  it  was  known  that  any  of  Saunders*  adherents  were  coming  a  rash 
would  be  made,  making  it  impossible  for  that  side  to  enter  the  booth. 

Philip  Brown,  a  McKinley-Citizen  watcher,  said  that  the  election  was 
a  fraud.  He  saw  Mr.  Roberts  with  a  pile  of  money,  going  around  shout 
ing,  u  That's  the  stuff  that  wins  I"  When  asked  what  the  judge  was  doing 
all  this  time  he  said: 

"  Why,  the  judge  belonged  to  Mr.  Roberts,  who  had  rail  control  of  the 
polling  place  all  day." 

William  Hare,  of  1346  Kater  street,  proved  an  interesting  witness.  His 
story  is  as  follows : 

"  Mr.  Lincoln  Roberts  brought  my  tax  receipt  and  told  me  to  come 
around  to  the  club.  I  went  and  was  given  a  bundle  of  tax  receipts, 


378  Negro  Suffrage.  [Chap.  XVII. 

marked  for  other  men,  and  told  to  deliver  them.  The  next  day  being 
election  day  I  made  it  a  point  to  watch,  and  saw  that  every  man  to  whom 
I  gave  a  receipt  came  to  the  polls  and  voted  for  Mr.  Roberts.  I  saw  Mr. 
Newton  Roberts  mark  thetballots  over  six  times  myself.  ' ' 

Many  of  the  men  mentioned  here  are  white,  and  this 
happened  in  a  ward  where  there  are  more  white  than  Ne 
gro  voters,  but  the  same  open  bribery  goes  on  at  every 
election  in  the  slum  districts  of  the  Fourth,  Fifth,  Seventh 
and  Eighth  Wards,  where  a  large  Negro  vote  is  cast.  In  a 
meeting  of  Negroes  held  in  1896  one  politician  calmly 
announced  that  "  through  money  from  my  white  friends  I 
control  the  colored  vote  in  my  precinct."  Another  man 
arose  and  denounced  the  speaker  pretty  plainly  as  a  trick 
ster  although  his  allegation  was  not  denied.  This  brought 
on  general  discussion  in  which  there  were  uncontradicted 
statements  that  in  certain  sections  votes  were  bought  for 
"  fifty  cents  and  a  drink  of  whisky  "  and  men  "  driven  in 
droves  to  the  polls."  There  was  some  exaggeration  here 
and  yet  without  doubt  many  Negroes  sell  their  votes 
directly  for  a  money  consideration.  This  sort  of  thing  is 
confined  to  the  lowest  classes,  but  there  it  is  widespread. 
Such  bribery,  however,  is  the  least  harmful  kind  because 
it  is  so  direct  and  shameless  that  only  men  of  no  character 
would  accept  it. 

Next  to  this  direct  purchase  of  votes,  one  of  the  chief 
and  most  pernicious  forms  of  bribery  among  the  lowest 
classes  is  through  the  establishment  of  political  clubs, 
which  abound  in  the  Fourth,  Fifth,  Seventh  and  Eighth 
Wards,  and  are  not  uncommon  elsewhere.  A  political  club 
is  a  band  of  eight  or  twelve  men  who  rent  a  club  house 
with  money  furnished  them  by  the  boss,  and  support  them 
selves  partially  in  the  same  way.  The  club  is  often  named 
after  some  politician — one  of  the  most  notorious  gambling 
hells  of  the  Seventh  Ward  is  named  after  a  United  States 
Senator — and  the  business  of  the  club  is  to  see  that  its 
precinct  is  carried  for  the  proper  candidate,  to  get  "jobs" 
for  some  of  its  "boys,"  to  keep  others  from  arrest  and  to 


Sect.  53.]    Some  J3ad  Results  of  Negro  Suffrage.  379 

secure  bail  and  discharge  for  those  arrested.  Such  clubs 
become  the  centre  of  gambling,  drunkenness,  prostitution 
and  crime.  Every  night  there  are  no  less  than  fifteen  of 
these  clubs  in  the  Seventh  Ward  where  open  gambling  goes 
on,  to  which  almost  any  one  can  gain  admittance  if  properly 
introduced  ;  nearly  every  day  some  redhanded  criminal 
finds  refuge  here  from  the  law.  Prostitutes  are  in  easy 
reach  of  these  places  and  sometimes  enter  them.  Liquor 
is  furnished  to  "  members  "  at  all  times  and  the  restrictions 
on  membership  are  slight.  The  leader  of  each  club  is  boss 
of  his  district ;  he  knows  the  people,  knows  the  ward  bossr 
knows  the  police;  so  long  as  the  loafers  and  gamblers 
under  him  do  not  arouse  the  public  too  much  he  sees  that 
they  are  not  molested.  If  they  are  arrested  it  does  not 
mean  much  save  in  grave  cases.  Men  openly  boast  on  the 
streets  that  they  can  get  bail  for  any  amount.  And  cer 
tainly  they  appear  to  have  powerful  friends  at  the  Public 
Buildings.  There  is  of  course  a  difference  in  the  various 
clubs ;  some  are  of  higher  class  than  others  and  receive 
offices  as  bribes ;  others  are  openly  devoted  to  gambling 
and  receive  protection  as  a  bribe  ;  one  of  the  most  notorious 
gambling  houses  of  the  Seventh  Ward  was  recently  raided, 
and  although  every  school  boy  knows  the